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The Coronavirus Stimulus Package Highlights Republicans’ Anti-Abortion “Fetal Personhood” Hypocrisy

Pro-choice campaigners hold placards outside the Houses of Parliament during a demonstration to urge the Government to extend the same laws on abortion across the UK, including Northern Ireland on June 5, 2018 in London, England. The British Government in under pressure to liberalise abortion laws in Northern Ireland after the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the abortion ban in a referendum on May 25, 2018.

Of all the disingenuous, far-fetched tactics used by anti-abortion advocates, the idea of fetal personhood is one of the most insidious. The attempt to give embryos and fetuses the same rights as people is nothing new, but Republican lawmakers have really been hitting the angle hard in recent years. Of the many anti-choice bills we saw last year, Republicans in a few states tried to give “right to life” protections to embryos and fetuses, making abortion a felony since technically that would then be considered murder.

Not only is this strategy totally absurd, but it’s also impractical. How do these Republicans expect to implement a fetal personhood law consistently? Obviously, they never did. All they cared about was policing the bodies of pregnant people. If they actually cared about the “person” inside that pregnant person, they would have to think about a whole lot of other elements. They would have to enforce child support and social services starting at the moment of conception. They’d have to release pregnant people from prison and jail because that fetus’s incarceration is unconstitutional.

As the Washington Post’s Carliss Chatman wrote in a great op-ed last year, “And what about deportation? Can a pregnant immigrant who conceived her child in the United States be expelled? Because doing so would require deporting a U.S. citizen.”

“We ought to take our laws seriously,” Chatman wrote. “Under the laws, people have all sorts of rights and protections. When a state grants full personhood to a fetus, should they not apply equally?”

And right now, as we’re all hoping and waiting on those coronavirus stimulus checks, shouldn’t the Republicans in Congress be standing by those values they keep trying to impose on us?

Most people will be receiving a $1200 check, with an extra $500 per dependent. If Republicans really believe a fetus or an embryo is a person, it sure seems like pregnant people should be able to claim those extra dollars, no? Especially since those same Republicans are exploiting the current pandemic to make it even harder for people to access abortion services.

Obviously, this wouldn’t work. Again, the “pro-life” movement doesn’t actually care about life or living people. They just want to force people to give birth without having to offer any support to parents or children before or after that. Still, calling out anti-choice hypocrisy is a form of self-care. (Or at least self-preservation.)

(image: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.