Alabama Puts Teens Seeking Abortions On Trial, Gives Their Fetuses Lawyers
The Alabama state motto is, “We Dare To Defend Our Rights.” Now, they have triple dog dared by declaring that fetuses deserve lawyers. (Probably just public defenders, but still.) I would like to make a joke here about the next step being that dogs and cats will have lawyers, and in that way turn around the conservative argument against gay marriage. So there it is. Enjoy.
An article in today’s Jezebel describes how this summer, a new parental consent law passed in Alabama, which says that teens who wish to have an abortion but don’t want to tell their parents about it must essentially defend themselves in court in order to get permission to have one. In this special kind of wrong, the court may call witnesses such as the girl’s friends, teachers, or neighbors to testify about her character, so that a judge can decide whether or not she deserves the right to have an abortion.
I used to have a neighbor who sold weed and threw his trash out the window. I’m just saying.
The ACLU has filed a suit against Alabama to try to overturn the law, saying in a press release:
At best, this law destroys the confidentially of any teen participating in the judicial bypass process. At its worst, this law will force a teen to resort to an illegal and unsafe abortion; to seek parental consent, even if it’s not safe for her to do so; or to have a child against her will.
And as if all that weren’t insanely awful enough, a lawyer may be appointed to represent the fetus’ best interests. How does one determine the best interests of a fetus, you might ask? This is a question worth asking, especially since brain activity doesn’t start until around week 12. But even then, not every fetus is the same. You can’t just assume that they all want the same thing. Here’s how I imagine this playing out in court:
(Fetus takes the stand)
Lawyer: Would you please state and spell your name for the record?
Fetus: Sure thing. It’s F-E-T-U-S. Not F-O-E-T-U-S. People mess that up a lot.
L: Do you have any aliases?
F: Yeah, I used to go by “embryo,” but I outgrew it. Get it? Ha! I am one hilarious fetus.
L: Fetus, we are here today to decide whether 13-year-old Jessica has the right to abort you. Do you have an opinion on the matter?
F: Uh, yes I have an opinion! I mean, this whole case is about me after all, right? Not some teenager, amiright?
L: Ha! You are 100% correct, my friend.
F: Right. So, you want to know if I think she should abort me?
F: Yes, she has a right to abort me. Come on, man! The girl is 13! I don’t mean to share secrets here, but she still sleeps with a stuffed elephant she calls Mr. Trunksalot. And you want her to have me? Please.
L: Uh…but what life? Don’t you value your life?
F: Yes. That’s exactly why I don’t want to be out there. Listen, do you know what usually happens to fetuses like me whose mothers are teenagers? I’ll give you a hint — not awesome things. If I’m lucky I’ll get raised my one of my grandmothers, neither of whom wants to deal with me. Otherwise, I might get put up for adoption, which might be super cool if it works out, but I also might end up in foster care, which is not always so super cool. No matter what, I’m coming into a world where I’m not wanted and ruining a little girl’s life in the process. Fuck that noise. I’m out.
L: But…you’d be alive.
F: Yeah, I might be out there just crushing a life of poverty and sadness. That’d be some good times. But you know who’s already alive? Jessica. And based on where we are right now I’d say that life is turning out to be a bit of a shit storm for her. Nope, I’m good.
And why am I making this decision anyway? I’m the size of a lime and my skin is transparent! My eyes just moved to the front of my face, motherfucker!
L: No further questions.
(Photo: Antonio Diaz / Shutterstock)