Two weeks ago, the "Personhood Act" passed the Oklahoma Senate. Passage by persons in the state's Republican-controlled House is expected, and the bill should be signed into law by Oklahoma's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, a person.
The bill will give personhood status to gametes from the moment of fertilization. Or conception. Or whatever mental image or description you would prefer, like "from the moment a woman's ovum is impregnated by the ejaculated sperm of a male." That would be a person. And that person would immediately be legally protected with all the rights of a person that that person would expect, presuming the person had the ability to expect.
A similar personhood bill was proposed in Mississippi, though ultimately rejected by voter persons when concerns were raised that it could criminalize birth control.
A personhood bill in Virginia was on its way to passage, but got temporarily withdrawn at the last minute (foedus interruptus) by persons in the General Assembly because Republican persons wanted to "study" it further -- no doubt hoping to find a loophole for that whole "criminalize birth control" thing.
On the positive side, it's nice to see that ultra-conservatives have finally embraced the politically correct term, "personhood," which they had long derided as the property of hippie persons, until adopting the term in their fight against abortion. And women.
A leading proponent of that Virginia personhood bill, lawyer person Rita Dunaway, told MSNBC that the proposed law "would accomplish the long-term objective of recognizing the humanity of the unborn."
Her comments were widely applauded by the unborn. None were immediately available for comment, though the unborn from the year 2032 were especially appreciative because they will be the unborn eligible to vote in that year's presidential election, provided they are born by 2014 -- part of Ms. Dunaway's "long-term objective," though not as long-term as the unborn of Stardate 2381.6 who have been demanding their personhood rights since 1793.
While many believe that the effort behind all these Republican-backed personhood bills is a reaction against abortion, women, sex and fun, others see another motive. Given that the number of unborn is currently unknown, it could reach the trillions -- or gazillions -- and should all those unborn give their grateful loyalty upon birth (should it occur) to the religious far right, the Republican Party could overwhelm elections through eternity.
It would be a nation of unborn conservatives. The unborn Born Again.
Of course, this also raises problems for those supporting personhood for the unborn. After all, think of all the unborn illegal aliens there are in America right today. Do they become unborn citizens because they're born unborn in the United States? And worse, there's the issue of the unborn Muslims all around us, right here on the American shores. No, that's not a problem for most Americans, but to the far right, it's a nightmare come to unlife.
Noble as all this effort is, though, for the countless unborn persons throughout America today and in the future, there is a huge flaw in these personhood bills, which proponents have tried to hide. A flaw that, by its very nature, eliminates any possible defense in the cause.
That flaw is as core a flaw as any cause can have -- because it's the very name of the cause itself.
The name may sound all-encompassing, but it's the opposite. The name may even sound liberal, and tree-huggerish and politically correct, but it's not. The name actually proves the emptiness of what its proponents must hide.
And what flaw does it hide?
The name "personhood" hides that proponents of the bills cannot actually tell you if the "person" is a male or a female.
Ask them. "Okay, this unborn 'person' you want to give human rights to at the moment of fertilization? Is that a male? Is it a female?" The answer can't be determined. Indeed, "he" or she" isn't ever used in the discussion. Instead it's always "the unborn child." The unborn person. It's always spoken of in the general -- because it can't be spoken of in the specific. But that impregnated egg is very specific. And one thing that can't yet be determined is if it's a male or female.
That's why they call it "personhood." Because "it-hood" sounds too creepy.
Zygotehood sounds even worse. But that's what it is. Because it sure isn't "a person."
For all the convoluted debate, it's really very simple, in the end: if something can't be determined to be a male or female, it can't possibly be a person. After all, being a male or female is pretty much the core requirement to be a person. Everything else is gravy. So, without being able to determine if something is male or a female, then it's impossible to call that a person.
The best you can do is hermaphrodite.
Because the only other option is that the religious far right is trying to recognize the rights of a transgender person.
(Yes, I know that neither are likely. If I had to bet my money between the two, though, I'd put it on hermaphrodites.)
If neither, however, they're out of options. After all, if something isn't a male person or female person -- it can't be granted "personhood."
Now, perhaps we can do something about centaurs...