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Woman Arrested for Thinking About Abortion? How Insane 'Personhood' Laws Are a Direct Assault on Pregnant Women

Women are being assaulted by attempts to establish fetal rights.

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If a woman in Iowa can be arrested for accidentally putting a wanted fetus in danger in the second trimester, and a woman in Nebraska forced to give birth to a baby with no chance of living, then what will happen now that states such as Iowa, Ohio, North Dakota, and Nebraska find ways to claim there’s a person in there when there’s a heartbeat , or a complete strand of DNA, or even in women who aren't actually pregnant? If you can get arrested for falling down a set of stairs while in your second trimester, what happens when the law is expanded to protect embryos, zygotes and even theoretical “persons” in pregnancies that might happen in the future? 

If a woman who falls down the stairs is investigated, it’s not a leap to suggest that women could be investigated for doing anything that could harm a real or theoretical embryo--drinking, riding roller coasters, jumping on trampolines, either while pregnant or even just sexually active while being fertile. You can scoff, but consider that a moment ago you were scoffing at the idea that a pregnant woman could be arrested for accidentally falling down the stairs and then going to the hospital to make sure her baby was okay.    

These laws and incidents are just the tip of a large iceberg that makes up an all-out assault on women’s rights and health. Last month, Ms. Magazine put together a nationwide map of all the states considering legislation to restrict a woman’s right to control her own body. In many cases, there are ostensible pro-woman arguments--ultrasound laws and counseling laws are issued with claims that they are about “informed consent”--but in reality, every single one will do nothing but increase women’s pain and suffering. As the examples in Iowa and Nebraska show, even claims that these laws are about fetal life fall short, because women in situations where terminating a healthy pregnancy isn’t an option still face harassment and arrest if they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Claims giving fetuses the rights of people are demonstrated, once again, to be cover stories for attempts to deprive women their status as full persons in the eyes of the law. 

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