A tweet sent on Wednesday sarcastically pointed out the wording of the lede from a recent New York Times story jokingly questioning whether the outlet had come “out in favor of fetal personhood.”
Twitter user @JasonElevation wrote, “Wow. Right-wing outlet New York Times comes out in favor of fetal personhood,” in reaction to a Times story titled, “After Surgery in the Womb, a Baby Kicks Up Hope.”
While he’s clearly quipping about the ideological bent of the newspaper, the lede in question reads:
“For a small person who had surgery before he was even born, and who’d just spent an hour and a half squeezing through a tight space that clamped down on his head every few minutes, Baby Boy Royer was showing a feisty spirit.”
Later on in the piece, the baby is referred to as a “six-month-old fetus” at the time of the baby’s in utero surgery.
Considering that some pro-choice folks argue that a baby isn’t a baby up until birth — and abortion is legal in some places in the U.S. through the end of a pregnancy — the wording throughout the piece clearly attracted some attention.
If this unborn baby was able and needed to have surgery before his birth, the natural question is: Was he a person beforehand…when that surgery was offered and performed?
— Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee (@jasonelevation) January 17, 2018
The tweet sparked a slew of responses. Margot Cleveland quipped, “Nah. The baby was born so the magic personhood powder had already been sprinkled on him.” And James Elton added, “Don’t most people — even on the left — believe that personhood obtains sometime during the fetus stage? I know some think it’s not until the cord is cut, but I thought that was a minority view.”
At the end of the day, the story and the comical tweet do raise some interesting questions about the oft-times unclear parameters people set surrounding when life begins — and when the unborn are entitled to rights.
And as debate continues to persist over abortion rights and when life truly begins, polls have shown that Americans have some intriguing views on the matter. In fact, a majority of people — 74 percent — want to see abortion restricted to the first trimester, according to a 2017 Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus.
On the question of morality, the proportions are also quite intriguing, with 59 percent of Americans believing it is “morally wrong” — 80 percent of Trump supporters and 37 percent of Clinton supporters; just 18 percent of Trump supporters said abortion is morally acceptable, with 61 percent of Clinton supporters saying the same.