Corporations Are People; Women Not So Much

Mississippi’s measure seeking to grant a fertilized egg the status of “person” was defeated at the ballot box last week. Unfortunately, personhood advocates still plan to put the matter up for vote in five more states. Perhaps the next step should be granting women personhood.

Because as it is, personhood advocates feel that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses should have more rights than women.

If a fetus threatens its mother’s health and she aborts (in self-defense) to save her life, she should be called “murderer”? But if the fetus is linked to her death, that’s okay? Why not prosecute fetuses, too?

Factories have excluded women from earning a living so that no harm will come to an embryo. But if a woman starves from lack of income, that’s all right?

And why are women prosecuted for poor nutritional choices if pregnancy ends in stillbirth, yet when actual women lack proper nourishment, many of the personhood advocates back cutting nutritional assistance?

Why must a woman be forced to undergo surgery for the sake of her fetus, and risk prosecution if she doesn’t, yet if she can’t afford surgery to save her own life, well, too bad?

When a fetus, embryo or a fertilized egg’s rights conflict with a woman’s, why does she lose?

A pal of mine who goes by the name, lineatus, recommended that women regain control by incorporating their uteruses. The Supreme Court has declared that corporations are people. Why not women?

Plus, “It would be easier to get insurance,” lineatus continued. “You could get a nice group rate for your corporation, rather than the extortionate individual plan.”

“True,” I interjected, “And if women were people like corporations, and were thought to require the same level of freedom that extreme right-wingers think markets do, then women could finally be free.”

If corporations are people, and if some are struggling to make fertilized eggs people, shouldn’t women be recognized as people, too?

Crossposted @ Daily Kos and republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Abortion

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 14, 2011, in feminism, gender, politics/class inequality, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I love reading a post that will make men and women think.
    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  2. I agree with Shelly Samis corporations are not persons. Is a way politicians can get millions of dollars in “donations.” I think if the government is going to use corporations as person then women should be able to use it to her advantage. It like some states trying to pass a law that miscarriage is involuntary manslaughter. Which I think is completely ignorant. I do not think anyone has a right to tell someone what they can and can not do with their bodies. If a woman does not want to carry a fetus to full term it’s her choice. The only way to stop this debate is to make it a woman’s right to do whatever she want to do with her own body. No one has to live with another person choice only that person does. People need to stay out of other people’s choices that does not affect them.

  3. Taylor Groseclose

    Women need to be treated like the real people that we are, not just producers of offspring. A fetus is a part of a woman’s body, therefore I believe she should have full control over it. The fetus does not have more rights than the woman. People are so concerned with protecting the fetus, but what about protecting women? The mother is the one who has obligations, has to provide for the fetus, has to think and make actions accordingly. The mother is the one who will have to sacrifice for a fetus; therefore she should have the right to make the decision, but society hardly considers her point of view. People can be to quick to judge when they hear that someone got an abortion because our government and members of society have given it such a negative label. Why is protecting the fetus more important than protecting the woman? Women need to be free to make their own decisions regarding their body.

  4. Ah, the policies continue.

    I’d just like to see the day when the government removed itself from our bodies. Even if abortion is murder, a woman should have the right to decide if she is going to carry a fetus to term or NOT.

  5. Where would this world be without women? The human race would seize to exist, correct? Yes, so why would women be treated for less than what they are worth? A woman bares a lot of responsibility, it is genetically inevitable for them to become mothers. It is an even greater responsibility. A fetus should not bare any rights “as a person” that would jeopardize the mother’s health whatsoever. The fetus relies on the mother, but in all logic it is just an entity that feeds off its mother, and without her it would not exist. The mother as a person whom can understand values, morals, and free-will should be the one protected and given the rights that would make her what she is, a person.

    A corporation on the other hand is also given the title of a “person”. The corporations are “able to influence and own most media companies. Some choices that corporations take to make profits can affect people all over the world. Sometimes fatally.” (http://www.globalissues.org/issue/50/corporations) The Supreme Court has declared that corporations are people. I agree that some corporations are very important for our modern world, they create jobs for millions of people and change lives, but should the importance and rights go higher than that of actual people. As corporations grow and become more valuable they start to take some control of what we see, do, and sometimes believe. So why would we even consider corporations as people? They are what holds us back from achieving what we fought so hard for, they keep us from reaching freedom.

  6. In the blog, “Corporations Are People; Women Not So Much.” I disagree. Corporations are not people, but “despite not being natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like natural persons.”(Wikipedia). The measure in Mississippi is trying to give the same status to a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus, but women are the only true people. Fetuses are a part of a women, therefore can’t be considered a person. They are an extension of the women’s. So, I do not believe fetuses do not deserve a higher status then women. Women should be able to make all decisions concerning their health and the fetus without be prosecuted. They should not be prosecuted for things that may happen to the fetus due to poverty and lack of health care. They should be offered proper health care and nutrition. They should not be forced to have surgery on behalf of the fetus. The women life should come first. The woman is the person, and thus held to a higher status.

  7. It’s a terrible idea to assign human rights to an entity that has no human responsibilities or morals to go with them in general. A fetus cannot control the resources that it takes from the mother, it has no consciousness or free will: it is completely constrained by biology, and will follow the path of growth laid down by genetics until it dies, the mother dies, or it is born. Granting full rights to an entity that has no concept of the responsibilities that go with those rights is a terrible, terrible idea. The fetus cannot “go hungry” when times are tough, and it is completely unable to provide for itself – it takes from the mother.

    Come to think of it, there’s a good parallel for businesses there. A publicly owned corporation has no free will, no conscience, and blindly follows the edicts of its shareholders (to get more money). Perhaps it’s an equally bad idea to grant human rights to these entities, given their lack of responsibilities to the rest of society?

  8. I signed the petition online when I received the email about this measure. I could not believe that it even made it as far as it did. How can a fetus have rights above it’s mother. The fetus is a part of the mother and it is her choice whether to bring it to fruition or not. How can you prosecute a woman for murder if she aborts the baby that will kill her or prosecute a woman who couldn’t afford healthy food or health care during her pregnancy and had a stillborn baby from a lack of these necessities. Why should her body be put through things she has not agreed to just to give rights to a life as of yet unborn? Is a womans life so worthless to these people that that a corporation and an undeveloped eggs deserve more rights than her. It scares me that there are people out there who truly believe this is right.

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