On Wednesday, the Nonhuman Rights Project faced-off against Stony Brook University in a Manhattan courthouse regarding the latter organization's right to keep two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, in captivity. The Nonhuman Rights Project, led by attorney Steven Wise, argued that if personhood rights had been granted to corporations, rivers and ships, they should also be granted to chimps in the limited form of a writ of habeas corpus, which gives individuals who believe they have been illegally imprisoned the right to appear in court.
However, a Fox News "Special Report" panel is not at all chill with this idea.
"If a chimp gets human rights," said Laura Ingraham, "Then what other primate? Is it orangutan? And then a monkey? I mean, lowland gorillas? I mean, is it all primates or just these types of chimps? What genetic disposition must you have to get human rights? Because I don't think this judge would say an infant in the womb early on in a term of pregnancy would get human rights, so now a chimp could have more human rights than an infant in the womb in New York."
Somehow, Fox News managed to steer the conversation towards reproductive rights in the time it took me to blink.
"Of course it's absurd," said Tucker Carlson, "Let's get real. They're not people, and Laura makes a deep point in that the left would give greater rights to monkeys than to babies in gestation."
Let me remind you that this is the guy who doesn't even really view women as human beings.
This is not the first time Wise's organization has brought the case of chimpanzee personhood to New York courts. In October, he argued that Tommy, a chimp kept in a cage in upstate New York, should be able to have a proxy sue for his release.
According to testimonies from leading primatologists at Tommy's trial, chimps are "deeply self-aware and self-determined, capable not only of pleasure and suffering, but of anticipating the future, remembering the past and making conscious choices about their lives."
But, fine, let's address Ingraham and Carlson's objections to the lawsuit.
They believe that in giving a chimp human rights, you give that chimp more human rights than an unborn child. The rights that would be given to a chimp as a result of this lawsuit is exclusively the right to a writ of habeus corpus, filed on their behalf by an actual human. A writ of habeus corpus exists only to liberate people who are being unlawfully imprisoned. That means that Ingraham and Carlson are basically arguing that a baby in the womb is essentially imprisoned against its will.
An undeveloped fetus does not have a will, and a womb is not a prison.
There is actually a stronger argument to be made that a woman who was impregnated through rape is in a sort of biological prison-- especially when conservatives have made it increasingly difficult, and, at times, impossible, to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
Watch the clip below, courtesy of Media Matters: