Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Ill-Conceived Law

The Florida Legislature is considering a bill that defines life as beginning at conception.

Republican legislators on the committee pushed through the effort to define an “unborn child” as a fetus at any stage of development in the womb. Under current law, an unborn child is defined as a “viable fetus” that is “capable of meaningful life outside the womb through standard medical measures.”

My first question with this bill — or any argument that a right-to-lifer brings up about life beginning at conception — is how do they know when conception occurs? Does a bell go off, or is it sometime between “Ooooohhhhhhh!” and “Have you seen my underwear?” I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure one of the basic concepts of determining that something has happened is that you can actually prove within reason when the event actually occurred. So unless the state is going to send pregnancy patrols monitoring every uterus in the state with microscopes and such, there’s no way to determine the exact moment when a woman gets pregnant.

Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Vero Beach, said the bill is needed to make sure that people who murder pregnant women are charged not just for the violent act against the woman, but also her fetus.

“It just says that, ‘Look, if you commit this crime and it’s against a pregnant lady and the baby dies, you’ll be charged twice,'” Poppell said of his bill that passed the House Committee on Home Security & Public Safety today.

Nice try, but it’s not about that at all. It’s about controlling other people and making their private lives public business. And the Republicans accuse the Democrats of being in favor of the nanny-state. Such chutzpah.

Given that the state of Florida is facing massive budget deficits and the legislature is cutting funding to public education to the point that school districts are having to lay people off, you would think that their energies would be better directed toward taking care of real issues such as how to pay for the things that really matter. But no; nothing is more important to these fanatics than taking care of microscopic blastocysts at the cost of the kids who are already here.