Personhood Bills take forefront in debates

Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

Social issues have always been a political ploy used by candidates running for office to avoid the real issues, but this year’s use of women’s rights has been, if anything, frightening. During the past year, bills have been introduced into state and national legislation that focus on birth control, abortion, and other means of women’s health care. While these topics are always controversial due to the opposition they face, it seems as if they have been far more in the forefront than usual. The organizations that provide controversial services to women are the focal point of many bills related to “personhood” bills that have been pushed for throughout the country.

Planned Parenthood breakdown of services: STI/STD testing- 38% Contraception- 33.5% Cancer Screening and Prevention- 14.5% Other Women’s Health Services (Prenatal Testing, Pregnancy tests)- 10.4% Abortion Services- 3%(does not use federal funding) Other Services (Family Planning, Adoption, Nutrition) – 0.6%

Planned Parenthood has faced funding losses for many years. Many candidates running for the Oval Office use this as a base, promising to defund it in order to sway the pro-life voters. This decision causes fear for an organization that provides far more than abortions to the public. They provide an annual breakdown of their services at the end of the following year, and in the 2010 annual report it showed that 3 percent of the services rendered were abortions (which cannot use federal funding), while 38 percent of their services supported STD testing on both women and men. The organization also provides birth control and vital cancer screenings. It provides so many beneficial things to the public, but has been a target since the 1970s for defunding.

Personhood bills are one of the largest threats to the female gender in years. It would ban some types of birth control, completely outlaw abortion, and would place doctors and lab technicians who provide in vitro fertilizations in vulnerable positions, should the embryo not survive.

According to Jewish law, one should respect the potential personhood of an unborn fetus, but it does not become a person until the head has emerged. Yet, modern Christianity defines it as the moment of conception. Where is it anyone’s place to define when life begins, except God, the being that so many refer to in defense of their radical actions? These bills and actions that affect women, their health, and their bodies should not be the focus of political action; instead we should be focusing on the true problems at hand, such as the economy and job market.

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