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Fetal Rights Essay

The government sees the rights of the human fetus as a complex topic, along with civil and human rights. In most states fetuses are not given entitlements because it can be seen as a violation of the privileges of the woman carrying the fetus. As of today the U. S. Supreme Court does not recognize the fetus as a person under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution (Constitution). In the Declaration of Independence it is stated that the government is in place to give the U. S. people, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as part of societies’ inalienable rights.

In the entitlements of a fetus – a combination of a sperm and an egg – which many believe becomes a human being at the moment of conception. If this is the case then the fetus is entitled to these same privileges. Society should be able to go against the government in the case of fetal rights because they deserve to be treated as any other U. S. citizen. The citizens of the U. S. should fight for the rights of the fetuses because that is where every human being’s life began. The treatment of these unborn infants throughout pregnancy affects the overall health, both physical and mental, throughout their lifetime.

Society and government officials need to put themselves in the situation of the disabled or mentally ill children that are born into this world with a preventable defect had they been taken care of properly within the womb. When a woman is pregnant they harbor another life that is completely innocent and should be treated as so. The fetus deserves to be given the same inalienable rights that those already born into this world receive, despite the wishes of the carrier. The acknowledgement of the human fetus and determining whether or not it has certain rights varies from state to state.

In 1987 in the state of California, these rights were put to a test in the case of People vs. Stewart (Maternal). In this case Ms. Stewart had been charged with child abuse because she had been stated to have “willfully omitting to furnish medical services. ” Her actions caused the child to be born with cranial damage and then died in the following two months (Maternal). In 1986 the judge charged her offense for harming this child in its’ fetus state, but on February 26, 1987 the charge was revoked.

A new judge was assigned from the state of California and came upon the conclusion that Ms. Stewart could not be penalized because she was in the state of pregnancy (Maternal). It was seen that Ms. Stewart was in the right when abusing her own body therefore affecting the fetus because she was committing an action to herself and a fetus without rights. The debate of the fetus and the rights it has conflict with those of woman rights. In some states, women’s rights in the terms of pregnancy include the ability to have an abortion under certain circumstances such as: rape, drug-abuse, or incest (Isaacs).

This element arose in the case of Roe vs. Wade when identifying the personal rights and the role of prevention from the government (Brant ed. ). Society should be able to recognize the difference between a woman who is unable to carry a baby, for whatever reason, and the abuse of the child within the womb and the affects after birth. If fetuses were given the same inalienable rights as other U. S. citizens that have already been born into then the abuse of these infants would be put to an end.

The gynecologist who sees after these women as they go through pregnancy would be able to protect the fetus from harm if the mother revealed the use of substance abuse during pregnancy. Currently, if a mother confesses to the doctor she is misusing a substance during pregnancy the doctor is not able to prevent this from continuing, as it would violate the woman’s rights. Infants born with an addiction to drugs or alcohol would be put to a halt completely because the mother would be unable to take part in these actions, as she would be in turn harming the fetus.

The doctors would have the right to place these women in the hospital for the duration of the pregnancy to prevent further drug use. Today much of society is unaware that the fetus is given certain rights, but they seem to be overruled by the maternal rights of the mother (Isaac). If society was well informed of the treatment of these children maybe there would begin to be a movement to give these infants the rights they deserve. The opinions of the concerned and well informed citizens needs to be heard by government officials and even by the mothers who continue to choose to harm themselves and their child throughout pregnancy.

The words and concern of fellow citizens could stop the ill treatment of the fetuses and given them the rights they are entitled to from the moment of conception. If citizens came together and drew a line on the rights for both parties and if health care was reformed to provide more affordable birth control so pregnancy could be prevented. If the future mothers were able to receive help for their substance abuse early on then they could be sent to rehabilitation centers before becoming pregnant. These ideas could help become the solution for the mothers and the fetuses.


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