Appreciated Circumcision Story
I just wanted to say thank you for publishing this article ["Circumcision Decision," Sept. 17, City Weekly]. It's a very important topic to be informed about. I loved it.
Salt Lake City
Personhood's Thorny Questions
I was heartened by James Sorley's letter in response to Katharine Biele's defense of Planned Parenthood ["Planned Parenthood's Hypocritical Claims," Letters, Sept. 10, City Weekly]. The Republican narrative frames its outrage in terms of the alleged for-profit sale of fetal tissue. Sorely argues that the more pertinent issue is "an innocent life is snuffed out ... "
Many people see matters the same way. Numerous "personhood" measures have been proposed across the country. As noted in the Indiana Law Journal, many of them define the word "person" as used in the 14th Amendment as including the unborn child either "at every stage of their biological development" or "from the moment of fertilization."
In its strictest sense, a definition of life beginning from the moment of fertilization sets up a potential conflict with the right to contraception and the fact that certain contraceptives work by preventing a fertilized ovum from attaching to the uterus. Several settled court cases suggest strongly that the right to contraception would prevail should the issue be litigated, but court decisions are difficult to predict.
If a fertilized ovum is determined to be a person, that person presumptively enjoys the same rights and protections as a postpartum baby. Does it follow that miscarriages, which are common before 20 weeks of pregnancy, ought to be investigated as possible homicides? The logic seems reasonable, but because incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) do not appear to receive such examination, perhaps miscarriage would be treated with similar forbearance. If abortion "snuffs out a life," shouldn't pregnancy termination be investigated the same way as a potential shaken baby death?
An unborn child's home is the uterus. Suppose a pregnant woman miscarries and is found to have exhibited recognized risk factors (such as obesity, smoking, drinking and unhealthy diet choices). Doesn't personhood confer upon the state authority to investigate and regulate a pregnant woman's habits? If not, why not? Paternal authoritarianism would surely welcome more control over women's bodies, but women and fair-minded people in general would be unlikely to cheer that sort of regulatory subjugation.
I believe the Sorleys of the world genuinely believe an intra-uterine definition of personhood would be a good thing, but I suspect the underlying thought process is often glib and glossy. If personhood advocates are sincere, it is incumbent upon them to address the thorny questions of intended and unintended consequences.
Salt Lake City
We just found out that The Bee was selected "Best Storyteller Showcase" in the "Best of Utah Arts" [Sept. 10, City Weekly]. We so appreciate the award! In your write up, you said we host our events monthly; actually, it's every other month. We'd love to thank your staff for the selection and invite you to attend our upcoming night of lovingly competitive storytelling, "The Here and Hereafter," on Oct. 10 at The Leonardo on Library Square.
Beekeeper & Co-founder
Salt Lake City
Clarification: In the story "Not So Free Speech," [Sept. 24, City Weekly], it should be noted that both Lexie Levitt with Direct Action Everywhere and Jeremy Beckham with Utah Animal Rights Coalition organized protests at Lagoon.