[This post is the English version of the one that has been written for “Mädchenmannschaft” here (in german).]
Embryos are US citizens and citizens of the state in which they reside. They are entitled to the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; and no state is allowed to deprive them life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny them the equal protection of the laws.
If US Republicans had their way, this would soon be a constitutional reality in the States: the platform, on which the GOP decided a couple of weeks ago in Tampa, includes a so-called “human life” amendment that aims at defining fertilized eggs as actual “unborn children.” The GOP seeks to extend the civil rights defined in the 14th amendment for actual US citizens to blastocysts – a plan that isn’t news and has failed in Mississippi in 2011. Whereas the “personhood” amendment in the Magnolia State had been unconstitutional anyway (thanks to Roe v. Wade), the GOP is now actively trying to change the game by changing the federal constitution.
Ever since the US Supreme Court has legalised abortion when classifying it a matter or privacy and civil rights in Roe V. Wade in 1973, abortion is – in theory – legitimate up until a fetus’ viability. De facto, due to a multitude of additional regulations, abortions in the US are mostly performed until the 12th week of a pregnancy. The “human rights” amendment that has now been officially introduced, however, is just the highlight of Christian fundamentalists’ long-haul campaign to erode the Supreme Court’s verdict, and this campaign has been quite creative: conservatives (within and outside of official political structures) have sought to limit women’s* access to abortion clinics or even contraceptives like the “morning after pill,” they erected additional barriers by introducing mandatory counselling, unnecessary medical procedures (such as transvaginal ultrasounds) or waiting periods, tried (and, at times, succeeded) to cut funds to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and threatened or even murdered doctors and medical staff who performed abortions.
Given these blatant intimidation and punishment tactics towards people who seek abortions in the US, people in Europe seem to often overlook the obvious. For example: the mere fact that abortion isn’t even legal in germany.