Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It All Depends On Whose Baby Is Being Gored

This following story caught my eye for a number of reasons.

Man Gets Life In Punching Death Of Fetus:

A Hopkins man accused of having a friend punch his pregnant girlfriend to kill the fetus has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Twenty-five-year-old Dameon Gatson was charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault. A jury found him guilty on all charges.

Hennepin County prosecutors say Gatson was sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors say he arranged the events that led to his daughter's premature birth in 2007 and her death 10 days later.

Police say Gatson paid the man $40 after he hit Shyloe Linde twice in the stomach. She was six months pregnant.

Defense attorney Emmett Donnelly has said Gatson will seek a new trial on the grounds that he wasn't allowed to confront his accuser.

First you have to love the incongruity of the title. After all, if a fetus is nothing more than an unviable tissue mass, can it really be punched to death? If the fetus is nothing more than part of the woman's body--like an arm or leg--than isn't punching a fetus nothing more than punching the woman herself? And in that case, wouldn't the charges against the man who did the punching and Gatson be nothing more than assault?

Now, you could argue that since Linde was six months pregnant the fetus was past the "viability" stage and therefore deserving of protections not otherwise accorded (although in some states it would still be legal to have a late-term abortion), but then you're saying that the right to not have your life snuffed out is entirely dependent on how "viable" you are. The other angle that could be taken is that since this wasn't Linde's decision, it somehow becomes murder rather than "reproductive choice." Then you're arguing that one being's right to life is entirely dependent on the whims of another. Neither argument passes muster here.

If a Martian landed on earth and inquired about these matters, the most ardent and informed pro-choicer would not be able to explain the logic of our current abortion regime and how it fits with other legal protections that fetuses (none dare call them babies) apparently enjoy in the womb. So it's okay to kill them then? Yes. What about then? No. How about then? Well, that's not such an easy answer.

The final striking note in this horrible story is that the man was willing to punch Shyloe Linde in the stomach in order to kill her baby in return for forty dollars (another story said he expected to get another $200 after the deed). When your culture embraces death, life becomes cheap.

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