I’m pro-choice, but I enjoy hypothetical questions, so I’m going to answer with what I think would likely happen in each scenario with the current laws that are in place. Bear in mind that I’m not 100% familiar with every law involved and all their nuances, so I may make some mistakes, in which case I hope someone corrects me.
If this unborn person is to be treated as a born person, say, a child, they would be protected legally as a child, correct?
The assumption is conception = child = citizen. Simply being a child doesn’t mean you’re a legal citizen of whatever country you live in, but because the laws to be discussed deal with citizens, I’ve made them equivalent. Also, because in this case embryo/fetus = child, I simply use the word child for all developmental stages.
So, if a person was to have a miscarriage, would they need to be investigated for manslaughter, the crime of killing a human being unintentionally/without malice forethought?
I would say that probably wouldn’t be the case. It would most likely be treated as a death by natural causes, unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as if the woman was hit in the stomach.
If a person engaged in activities deemed risky during pregnancy, would they need to be investigated for child abuse?
I would say more child endangerment than outright abuse, simply because there’s a chance that it won’t affect the child. One smoke, one drink, one snort of coke, none of those has a 100% chance of causing the child harm, but they are still a danger to the child. If the drinking/smoking/etc. happens repeatedly over the course of the pregnancy (as opposed to once or twice), I think it would then move into the child abuse category, because there are much stronger odds that the child has developed problems as a direct result of the behaviour.
If a person didn’t get prenatal care, or ignored/couldn’t comply with their doctor’s advice, would they need to be investigated for neglect?
I think she would be, yes, but she shouldn’t be charged/convicted of neglect if she was economically and/or physically incapable of caring for the child. Then again, the law rarely takes individual circumstances into account when children are concerned, so a woman who was too poor to afford vitamins would likely end up in jail/fined/whatever the punishment for neglect happens to be where she lives.
If a person physically unfit to be pregnant (with some sort of illness or disability) became pregnant, would they need to be investigated for abuse, neglect, or something else?
Hmm… Probably neither abuse nor neglect, but possibly child endangerment. If she is physically incapable of successfully carrying a child to term, her pregnancy would likely be considered a danger to the child.
If a pregnant person became suicidal, how should the government respond to ensure the person inside them would be safe?
About the only way they could is to have the woman committed to a hospital until the child was either: a) born; or b) 28+ weeks into the pregnancy, at which point the child would be removed from the woman and placed into the care of the hospital for the remainder of its gestation period, and the time in between used to find adoptive parents. (I chose 28 weeks because at that week a child has about a 50% chance of surviving, which is the earliest the odds aren’t in favour of it dying.)
Since a large percentage of zygotes, or fertilized eggs, are lost before they get a chance to implant, would we need to check everyone’s period to be sure there is not a dead person in there? I know it sounds silly, but if it’s a person from the moment of conception, or fertilization, then millions of people are dying every day because of menstruation.
I think this would be almost impossible to check. So I don’t think it would be a matter of concern. However, if we assume (just for the sake of argument) it was possible to check every menstruation, I think it would end up in the same category as a miscarriage, and be ruled a death by natural causes except in extenuating circumstances.
Will we need to issue “conception certificates,” or any kind of legal documentation, once a pregnancy occurs? If they are a person, shouldn’t we have a record of them?
This would probably happen, yes. It’s be a bureaucratic nightmare, to be sure, but I can see the government enforcing it. The paperwork for such a certificate would likely be done after the first ultrasound in which the sex of the child can be determined with near perfect accuracy (around 19 weeks for most, though occasionally as early as 11 weeks), as the sex of a person is found on almost every official government document.
Should pregnant people have the right to sue for child support? They need prenatal care just as much as born children need to be fed and clothed, if they are to keep this person inside them healthy.
I think this would be allowed. People sue for child support for their children, and if we are considering every conception to be a child, then a woman should be able to sue to child support for her unborn child.
Could pregnant people list their fetuses as dependents?
Yes. The child is dependent on the woman carrying it, therefore she should be able to list it as a dependent.
Could pregnant people collect welfare for their fetuses?
Yes, for the same reason she could sue for child support.
Could the father of this unborn person sue for custody?
Yes, technically, but it would be hard to enforce said custody if he won the case, and there’s a very good chance he’d lose any case for total custody he brought forth prior to the 28th week of pregnancy. After that point, I assume either: a) a C-section is forced upon the woman, and after the hospital stay the child would be given to the man; or b) the man would take custody immediately after the child is born.
Will these regulations apply to frozen embryos in fertility clinics? If a fertility clinic is damaged by a natural disaster, who will be held responsible for the deaths of the embryos?
I would assume any regulation that applies to children in uteri would also apply to frozen children in clinics, and thus the freezing process may be classified as child endangerment (as not every frozen child is viable after being frozen) and the clinics would be shut down altogether. If not, then they would have to operate under a modified version of the law, such that they are free to continue operations but under heavy stipulations on how they freeze and store the children. (I’m pretty sure they already have many rules on that now, but those rules may become more stringent.) If a natural disaster struck, I think it would again fall into the death by natural causes category.
I hope I sufficiently answered all the questions, Bébinn, but let me know if I missed anything important or I wasn’t clear on my reasoning.
A lot of pro-lifers are vehemently opposed to IVF for the reasons you listed. I find it very sad that those who uphold motherhood as such a high calling would shut down the only opportunity for many people to be biological parents, but at least they are consistent.
P.S. The period question was me being kind of silly, but if pro-lifers care so much about every human life I thought they’d want to think about that one.
P.P.S. I wish people could collect child support and welfare for fetuses! Dang.