Home / General / The New Republican Platform: Life Begins at Conception, Ends at Birth, And is Resurrected by Incorporation

The New Republican Platform: Life Begins at Conception, Ends at Birth, And is Resurrected by Incorporation

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I’ve been waiting for Dahlia Lithwick to take on the argument that corporations can “exercise” religion (and hence can claim exemptions from laws that don’t even significantly burden the religious beliefs of their owners) for a while. Thankfully, she now has. And she has a definitive new addition to Barney Frank’s dictum that for Republicans life begins at conception and ends at birth:

But corporations aren’t America’s only new people. States and the U.S. Congress are also attempting to expand the definition of personhood in a different direction: Anti-abortion activists are attempting to redefine “personhood” to include the potential personhood of a fertilized egg. If the so-called personhood bills and ballot initiatives across the country succeed, a day-old zygote would have the same legal status as a person, with sweeping implications for criminal law, reproductive rights, and access to birth control.

So pause for a moment with me to ponder what it means that some of the greatest civil rights battles of our era are being fought to extend personhood into the weeks prior to viability and the years after incorporation? What does it mean for actual human “personhood”—as well as for reproductive rights and corporate control—that, if the far right succeeds in stretching these two legal fictions to their illogical extremes, American “personhood” will begin at conception, diminish somewhat at birth, and regain its force upon incorporation?

[Picture Charles Foster Kane clapping, only pretend that Susan Alexander had given a brilliant performance]

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