Personhood USA’s Unhinged Response to National Advocates for Pregnant Women Study

10:38 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Imani Gandy for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Pregnant woman

Pregnant women losing their constitutional rights? "Personhood USA" responds.

There’s an old saying: A hit dog will holler. That phrase came to mind as I read Personhood USA’s unhinged response to the new study conducted by Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) and Professor Jeanne Flavin of Fordham University.

The NAPW study found hundreds of cases in which pregnant women were arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of personal liberty, as a result of the “passage of feticide measures and laws restricting access to safe abortion care that, like so-called ‘personhood’ measures, encourage state actors to treat eggs, embryos, and fetuses as if they are legally separate from the pregnant woman.” Since the conclusion of the study in 2005, approximately 250 more cases have been discovered.

The cases are horrific, ranging from women who were forced to have C-sections against their will (and died as a result); to women who were imprisoned to prevent them from having an abortion; to a woman who was jailed until her lawyers were able to prove that her miscarriage resulted from medication given to her by her doctor; to a woman who wanted to have her birth attended by a midwife, but was taken to a hospital by the sheriff’s department pursuant to a court order, and forced to undergo involuntary testing and medical treatment.

The study was comprehensive and damning, and Personhood USA’s press release in response is classic. Unable to argue with the data, science, and facts painstakingly detailed in the study, Jennifer Mason founders in a sea of personal attacks and logical fallacies. Mason cannot attack the study itself, so she cries bias and attacks the study’s authors, and resorts to the sort of paint-by-numbers emotional rhetoric that has become de rigeuer for the anti-choice movement:

[T]o Lynn Paltrow and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, babies are little more than human garbage. Far from being true advocates for pregnant women, the NAPW seeks to dehumanize the baby, the very human being whose existence makes his or her mother a pregnant woman. The devaluing of human life is a disservice to mother and child.

“Human garbage” seems a tad over-the-top, but Mason is on a roll:

The personhood of the child in the womb is dangerous to groups like NAPW because they seem to believe that there is NO case in which a woman should be prosecuted for endangering her child in the womb, and there is NO restriction on abortion that is permissible. Our wealthy enemies — Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, and NAPW — will not suffer any regulations or restrictions, including those well-intentioned restrictions to make clinics ‘safer.’ With a zero-tolerance policy for any abortion restriction whatsoever, of course personhood is loathed by these adversaries of human life, and made into a scapegoat.

Personhood USA’s “wealthy enemies” and “adversaries of human life” are three women’s rights organizations that seek to improve the health and welfare of all women, whether pregnant or not. But according to Personhood USA, groups like NAPW and NARAL are coming for your family, aborting everything and everyone in their path.

Mason’s outrage continues when she discusses Amanda Kimbrough’s case (which I wrote about at length here):

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