Natalia Harrell shot and killed someone in Florida. She was six weeks pregnant. She was apprehended and put in prison. Now she has filed a petition with the Florida courts saying lack of prenatal care in prison is endangering the life of her fetus — or, to use Florida’s term for a fetus, her “unborn child.” In an interview, Harrell’s lawyer stated: “An unborn child has rights independent of its mother, even though it’s still in the womb. The unborn child has been deprived of due process of law in this incarceration.”
This is a logical outcome of the conservative Christian insistence that a fetus has rights. Of course we know what’s going to happen. The courts are going to twist things around so Florida does not have to provide prenatal care, nor in any way honor any putative rights the fetus has. In this conservative Christian ideology, a fetus is only considered a person when that serves to stop a woman’s right to abortion; but a fetus is not a person for any other purpose.
This makes me wonder if there are carpool lanes on some Florida highways. Because if there are, some pregnant woman should drive solo in a carpool lane, and if apprehended claim that there are actually two legal persons in the car: the woman herself, and the fetus. Of course, once again we know the Florida courts would rule that a fetus is not a person when it comes to carpool lanes. But I’m sure a lot of us would happily chip in to pay that woman’s traffic ticket and court costs, just to show up the hypocrisy of lawmakers who claim a fetus is an “unborn child” with full legal rights.