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On Scott Peterson, NOW and the Unborn
In Dissent, Number One Hundred and Five
by Brian S. Wise
24 April 2003

Leftist philosophy seems here to strongly suggest that one should be free to do whatever they want with their bodies, so long as no additional lives are created, at which point there arises various conditions and scenarios, here and there designed to protest anyone who harms the unborn. 

Now that the Peterson matter has come to a temporary head – husband Scott having been charged with the murders of his wife and unborn son – debate can fill the time between the filing of charges and jury selection.  Namely, the National Organization for Women (Morris County, New Jersey chapter) would like for everyone to consider the fact that, because the child was unborn at the time of the murder, Peterson should only be charged with ending one life, not two.  The point is moot.  California law accounts for such a thing; if the fetus is older than seven weeks at the time of attack, then a life has been taken.
 
Still, one is struck by the sheer tactlessness of the NOW position.  Is it safe to assume that, had Scott Peterson waited until his wife had lost water, taken her into nearby woods, partially delivered his son, inserted a suction tube into the back of his neck and collapsed his skull, the worst charge NOW would agree with was that he, Scott Peterson, had practiced medicine without a license?  It seems only a matter of time before NOW argues that aborted children (as the practice is undertaken by either doctors or fathers who have no desire to be fathers) had it coming, for having the temerity to stand for their own creation.
 
Anyway.  What leads us to the controversy?  Marva Stark, president of the Morris County chapter of NOW, suggested last weekend that “If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.”  (You needn’t be told that “they” are the same people who turned a local misstep into a national cause, the pro-lifers.)  “There’s something about this that bothers me a little bit.  Was it [“it” being the child] born, or was it unborn?  If it was unborn, then I can’t see charging [Scott Peterson] with a double-murder.”  More, “He [the child; previously known as “it”] was wanted and expected, and [Laci Peterson] had a name for him, but if he wasn’t born, he wasn’t born.  It kind of sets a precedent.”  Yes, and the precedent is: California State law trumps feminism, which is to NOW’s imminent distaste.
           
Rob Jennings, who broke the story for the Daily Record, notes that “Fetal homicide laws have been opposed by some pro-choice organizations that fear they will undermine a woman’s right to choose an abortion, even though the statues exempt legal abortions.”  Now wait a minute.  Given the accessibility of information these days, one can safely assume that this particular bit of knowledge – those States with fetal homicide laws on the books make exceptions for legal abortions – is just as available to Marva Stark as it was for Rob Jennings.  So how do we account for the rather extraordinary assertion that charging Scott Peterson with the murder of his son (and, presumably, convicting him) is akin to icing down the slope that will take us to a de facto reversal of Roe v. Wade?
           
The likelihood is that Stark has little or no interest in the legal point, just in a woman’s ability to end a pregnancy, no matter how advanced.  If that is the case (and we cannot know for sure, as Stark is refusing all ancillary interview requests), what is to be said of that same woman’s right to progress through a pregnancy without the slightest fear of being gutted like a fish by her husband?  Not much, just that Stark would like to “see them [the authorities] string him [Peterson] up any way they can,” which is fair, but nonetheless a milquetoast response coming from an organization that claims to fight mightily for the rights oppressed woman.  (And what, after all, is ultimately more oppressive than murder?)
           
A few days pass, and suddenly NOW realizes Stark has inadvertently started a battle the organization could not finish.  “I was thinking out loud,” Stark said after a meeting with NOW vice president Terry O’Neill (which is read here as the feminist equivalent to Goldwater, Rhodes and Scott rolling up on Nixon).  “The position I was veering very close to was not even in synch with those of all the pro-choice organizations I belong to.”  Of course.
 
Leftist philosophy seems here to strongly suggest that one should be free to do whatever they want with their bodies, so long as no additional lives are created, at which point there arises various conditions and scenarios, here and there designed to protest anyone who harms the unborn.  The thinking is backward and will eventually pass; if not from private thought, than from the public consciousness.  Marva Stark was wrong, but feminism is at least savvy enough to know when to keep its representative mouths shut, even if retroactively.


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