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Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Friday, November 12, 2004

Recent Challenge to Reproductive Rights in US-- WRC Curses and Admits We're Right

Today's verdict in the Laci Peterson case left us with ambiguous feelings. "What the hell are you talking about, you newly southern crank addict?" ask our readers. "What is 'ambiguous' about convicting a man who killed his wife and unborn child?"

Just hear us out. First, the term "unborn child" is akin to "unwritten novel" or "unrequited love." All three refer to something that does not actually exist. Next, we find no fault with the first part of the verdict. We are totally against killing one's spouse. Scout's honor. If killing one's spouse was a movie theater, we would never go there unless it had Dolby Surround Sound, plush seats, and was showing a film festival featuring the talented and alluring Natalie Wood, in which case we couldn't be blamed. (Who could?)

However, the second half of the verdict genuinely baffles us. Scott Peterson was convicted of second-degree murder "in the death of the son she [Laci Peterson] was carrying" as the Associated Press dutifully reports. The California court and jury obviously followed not the law, but instead the "life begins at conception" epithet hurled by America's self-proclaimed moralists. (In less than four years life will be ordained by these loud fools to begin not at conception, but at the moment one ogles the pert wiggle of a slut's hams.)

What bothers us is not that Peterson was convicted of second degree murder but that he was convicted of a second murder at all. Murder as a literal act must involve the death of a person. From a previous legal standpoint, a fetus was not considered a person. Hence, abortion remains legal while euthanasia remains criminal. In the past, the unlawful destruction of a fetus has been charged not as murder (of any degree) but under a broader term known as "mayhem."

This shift in criminal charges may stem from lead prosecutor Joseph "Rick" Distaso. He relied heavily on the "killing" of a fetus in his statements to the jury: "The reason he killed Laci Peterson was Conner Peterson was on the way." To affect a conspiratorial pose-- could it be that Distaso's choice of charging Scott Peterson with two murders rather than the usual murder and mayhem had anything in common with his Italian heritage and subsequent choice to attend the Jesuit Loyola Law School? Alas, the role of religion in this case remains unapproached by the mainstream media, at least in the case of Distaso. At least one devout Catholic was dismissed from the jury for maintaining a strong moral stance against the death penalty (one more sign into the Right-Wing agenda of the case).

By any measure, tonight's verdict defined a fetus as a person rather than a clump of cells, a ruling sure to have chilling effects on the legality of abortion. With the caselaw established in California, any challenge to the Constitutionality of the right to privacy in reproductive matters (pronounced: "women's bodies") is sure to find an easier time than ever before in abridging our freedoms.

We hope this may cause TBOC!'s favorite gaggle of apolitical party-girls to reconsider-- "Shit! Where did we leave that speaker's number?"

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