Thursday, October 30, 2008

A zygote's life

I met a zygote while waiting in line at the grocery store the other day. The water on the floor suggested it was a fresh escapee from some nearby fertility lab. I tried to engage it in conversation but all it did was jiggle awkwardly in its little petri dish. What a rude, weird zygote.

Don't laugh. It's not funny. Zygotes are people too, you know. At least, according to Kristi Burton, the 21-year-old mastermind of a Colorado ballot measure that would define "personhood" as beginning at the moment of conception.

Burton is, as you may have guessed, very pro-life and very Christian. She is entitled to her opinion and to pursuing this pro-zygote legal endeavor. But passage of such a law - which would begin to lay the groundwork for overturning Roe v. Wade - would create some rather problematic yet quite amusing quandaries.

For example, if zygotes are lawfully considered people, then would the many thousands of frozen eggs in fertility clinics have to be added to the U.S. census? (NPR asked this question as well)

Since zygotes are unable to work as productive members of society, would the government have to offer social security, unemployment compensation and food stamps so they can keep up the required diet of nourishing stem cells?

If a woman in Colorado, unaware she is pregnant, smokes or consumes alcohol or decides to surf down the stairs on a boogie board and the zygote is harmed, will that woman be charged with child abuse? (This question is posed in the linked article above)

Must a loving couple unable to create their own zygotes file adoption applications and meet with the guardians of unwanted zygotes before claiming a zygote as their own?

Do pregnant women dining out now have to add one extra zygote to every dinner reservation?

Will the U.S. Government have to re-write current education law to ensure that no zygote is left behind?

I promise, I'm done. But do you see what I'm trying to illustrate here? I don't mind anti-abortionists expressing their opinions, but enough is enough. Debating abortion has become futile and pointless, because no matter what we do, abortion will unfortunately be a necessary evil sometimes. I think we all agree that abortion is terrible, but some medical situations unfortunately necessitate this procedure to save the life of another. For that reason, abortion cannot, and never will be, eradicated completely.

Giving zygotes all the rights associated with personhood is ridiculous, particularly when hundreds of thousands of other innocent human beings who successfully survived gestation live a hair's tip away from death each day, due to poverty, lack of access to suitable healthcare, persecution and war. And all in our own country, I might add. Don't get me started on other areas of the world.

Those with a fighting chance at contributing to society, along with those who clearly would but can't because of a disability, deserve the rights to personhood first. Once they're all taken care of, then we can talk about appeasing entitlements for cells in petri dishes.

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