By Fred Leonard
Republicans seem to have a knack for discord, disagreement, and division. Caucus chaos, threats to shut down the government, and the ongoing Trump wars are just some recent examples. But despite this dysfunction there is one thing on which Republicans appear to agree—we need a government so small that it will fit in your uterus.
Mike Huckabee made this clear in the first Republican debate when he declared, “I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.” It is not clear if he is aware that the egg is fertilized outside the uterus and has to make its way down the fallopian tube before it implants in the uterine lining. But it doesn’t matter. Mr. Huckabee and the rest of the GOP believe that the government should be right there inside the uterus to confer full rights of citizenship on that fertilized egg even before it gets there. The fact that this would require the mother to simultaneously lose her protection under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments is apparently of scant significance.
Given that this viewpoint is so widely shared by Republican candidates and the party establishment, I would like to suggest that the Republican Party change its other name from GOP (Grand Old Party) to IUP (Intra-Uterine Party). This would be a much more accurate descriptor of the contemporary Republican Party, and it would certainly help women know what the party stands for. If women want government in their uteri, then by all means they should register and vote Republican.
While the IUP evidently sees no problems with invoking personhood and full citizenship rights at conception, some have suggested that there could be potential legal, ethical, and moral issues associated with such a decree. About half (some estimates are as high as 60-70%) of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted, usually before a woman knows she is pregnant. In most of these cases she has what she thinks is a normal period, but included in her menstrual flow is a fertilized egg—a person / citizen according to Mr. Huckabee and the IUP. Should we then be issuing birth and death certificates when women have periods? If so, how do we know which period? Could these women be considered accessories to homicide? Should all women of childbearing age be required to use birth control or abstain from sex if they are not trying to get pregnant in order to decrease this genocide? It’s a bit confusing, but I’m sure the IUP has answers to these questions.
Further, this issue provides the IUP with a remarkable opportunity to market its brand. Instead of campaign buttons or pins the IUP could hand out tampons with the candidate’s name(s) printed on the sides. Instead of bumper stickers, women could be given chastity belts. Campaign workers could offer free pelvic exams when they canvass neighborhoods. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination.
But to believe that a single cell should have the same citizenship rights as any human being, and that those rights should Trump those of the mother in whom that cell might be found, suggests a truly fertile imagination.