I am not a rabid pro-choicer. If I were foaming at the mouth and happened to bite you on the leg, you would not become pro-choice if you didn't dash off to your vet for the required vaccine.
But in Mississippi, Les Riley has come up with a new amendment to the state constitution, to be voted on Tuesday, that defines a person as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof."
There are many things wrong with this. What is the equivalent of cloning? This sounds like the beginning of a “Twilight Zone” episode.
“I consider sewing together these corpse body parts and reanimating them the equivalent of cloning,” someone will start saying, soon. “Both are processes that are used to create life in horror films.”
“I consider building a giant army of robots the equivalent of cloning,” someone else will start replying. “Both are processes used to create armies in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels.”
Not only that, but according to infertility expert Randall Hines, only about 20 percent of fertilized eggs go on to become children.
This is awkward. Soon we will have to figure out a way to punish Nature for violating Mississippi law. I'm sure that can be arranged. The ancient king Xerxes once lashed the sea for foiling his plans, and the sea really learned its lesson.
Forget the complaints from the Mississippi Medical Society that the new amendment would interfere with standard medical practice, and that the proposed amendment seems to have no clue, medically speaking, what it is talking about.
The biggest problem with this law is that it doesn't go far enough.
Never mind conception. That was so 2004. Fertilization? Hardly. We are missing an even earlier stage of life that needs protection most of all: the twinkle.
People always say, “I knew you since you were a twinkle in your daddy's eye.”
When I think of the number of twinkles in men's eyes that have been allowed to vanish without anyone being punished by his state of residence, I start getting nervous and frustrated and want to show up somewhere with a pointed sign and slightly creepy diorama.
That twinkle could have been Winston Churchill!
“You need to carry that twinkle to term,” we will demand.
“What? How? What?” men will ask.
Some will complain: “I didn’t put that twinkle there, and now I am being forced to suffer the consequences of a choice that I didn’t make.”
“It’s a law.”
“Most twinkles don’t become people,” they will say, frantically. “That twinkle couldn’t survive on its own.”
“That’s not what the law says, Twinkle-Vessel.”
“Ask a doctor. Ask any doctor! Heck, ask anyone you meet on the street who seems like a calm and reasonable person.”
“Sorry,” we’ll say.
“Don’t I get any say in this at all? I’m here too! I used to be a twinkle!”
“The more you yell at me, the weaker that twinkle looks,” we’ll say.
I’m not saying that this is the logical next step.
I am not certain to what degree logic is involved. I used to think these discussions would be limited by things like How Medicine Is Normally Practiced and How Science Works. Now I’m not so sure.