The jokes just write themselves, but the Republican Party is increasing its involvement in a crusade on behalf of 'people' who are literally without brains. And when I say 'literally,' I mean literally - I'm not using it as an intensifier, nor as a misguided substitute for 'figuratively.'
No, the GOP is fighting to give full rights of personhood to 'people' who are literally without brains.
I refer, of course, to the bills in Virginia and elsewhere that would bestow personhood on an embryonic human being from the moment a sperm cell bonks into an egg cell. (Some of you have commented on the Virginia bill in the previous thread, so you know what I'm talking about.)
Now I happen to think that at what point the onset of personhood occurs is actually the correct debate with respect to the abortion issue. I think I passed the "if I hear the question 'when does life begin' one more time, I'm gonna scream!" point about two decades ago: the newly fertilized egg is alive; it's just a stupid and irrelevant question.
The personhood debate, I should add, is a very complex debate. Is my cat a person? I've got three of them, all with very distinct personalities; if they've got clearly formed personalities, then why aren't they persons, other than not possessing homo sapiens DNA?
I'm sure the fetal personhood advocates would simply regard that DNA as a necessary condition for personhood. But it would still give rise to the question: DNA aside, at what point does a developing fetus become more of a person than my cats are? Whenever that point might be, it's surely very late in the game.
A sincere effort to debate the beginnings of personhood would get very complex, and hashing through all those complexities isn't what I have in mind for this thread. However, one part of the personhood debate should be quite simple: the locus of personhood is the brain.
I am still I under many changes to my body: amputation of limbs, heart, liver, or kidney transplants, blindness or deafness - if any of these things should happen, I am still I, though changed of course in the ways that major changes in our circumstances inevitably change us.
But scoop out my brain, and there is no more 'I', at least not in this world. No brain, no person.
Unless you're a Republican, apparently.
Because the fertilized egg doesn't have a brain. The embryonic human body has no brain at all during its first several weeks of development. And absent a brain, there is nowhere for personhood to reside - not even such personhood as a cat, or a mouse, or even a flea might have, let alone the sort of personhood we associate with fellow members of our species.
So the Republican insistence that personhood begins when sperm and egg meet is an insistence that one doesn't need a brain at all, let alone a functioning brain, to be a person.
Somehow taking a position that one literally doesn't need a brain to be a person seems quite in keeping with the nature of today's GOP, doesn't it?
Let the jokes begin.