The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
In the News
Rebecca Kiessling (www.rebeccakiessling.com) does an EXCEPTIONAL job on Mike Huckabee’s show on Fox News. http://video.foxnews.com/v/1409157305001/woman-conceived-in-rape-speaks-...
By: DAVID CRARY | 01/20/12 1:32 PM
AP National Writer
In poll after poll, Americans say the economy is the paramount issue facing the nation, with hot-button social issues trailing far behind. Nonetheless, abortion will likely be in the election-year spotlight in a slew of states facing possible votes on sweeping abortion bans.
In at least 12 states — including crucial national battlegrounds such as Ohio and Virginia — anti-abortion activists are seeking to place “personhood” measures on the ballot this year. The measures vary in some details, but in general they define human life as beginning with fertilization and are intended to ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
Supporters and opponents of personhood will be seeking to galvanize their camps this weekend during a flurry of rallies, vigils and fundraising events marking Sunday’s 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Personhood measures, if approved, would directly challenge that ruling, which established a woman’s right to an abortion.
Thus far, the personhood movement is 0 for 3, losing referendums in Colorado in 2008 and 2010 and in Mississippi last November. But instead of retreating, the movement is trying again in Colorado and expanding to every other region except the Northeast on the premise that it can influence public opinion even if the measures fail.
“These are defeats only if we quit,” said Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA. “If we continue on, they are building blocks for success.”
Mason likened his movement to the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage, noting that gay-rights activists had persevered and made headway despite losing referendums in all 30 states where voters have weighed in on the issue.
For now, it’s unclear how many of the personhood proposals will actually go before voters later this year. Authorities have given the green light to gather signatures for proposed ballot measures in Colorado, Ohio, Montana and California, while legislators in Kansas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama and Georgia have been working on bills that could lead to personhood referendums.
In Nevada and Arkansas, personhood campaigns also are in place, but have been slowed by disputes over the wording of proposed ballot measures. In Florida, anti-abortion activists are gearing up to seek a referendum in 2014.
In Colorado, the new personhood measure is considered likely to qualify for the ballot again this year because of the state’s relatively low threshold for petition signatures. It’s frustrating to the state’s abortion-rights activists, who spent heavily to defeat the 2008 and 2010 measures by better than 2-to-1 margins.
“It’s very clear that one of the goals of the personhood movement is to waste our resources,” said Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Every dollar we’re spending on getting people out to vote is a dollar not spent for birth control or sex education or breast exams.”
Criticism of the personhood movement also has come from some anti-abortion groups which worry the strategy could backfire if federal courts became involved and upheld Roe v. Wade.
In Nevada, a coalition of anti-abortion groups spoke out Jan. 12 against the state’s personhood initiative, saying it will hinder their cause in the long run.
“Initiatives like these provide political and financial windfalls to abortion advocates and their candidates,” said the coalition, which included Eagle Forum and Nevada Right to Life.
Some national anti-abortion groups have made clear that their preferred strategy is to push state by state for incremental legislative restrictions — such as requiring women to undergo sonograms before an abortion, restricting insurance coverage of the procedure, and imposing tough regulations on abortion clinics.
According to a tally by the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, 69 bills aimed at restricting access to abortion were enacted last year in 26 states — the second-highest total in 16 years of tracking such data.
Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, one of the anti-abortion groups active in state legislatures, said she expected many more victories this year. But she declined to endorse — or criticize — the campaign for personhood measures.
“Different pro-life groups have different strategies,” she said.
In Ohio, the personhood proposal shares the political stage with the so-called heartbeat bill, which would outlaw abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat, sometimes as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The bill, stricter than any existing state abortion limit, passed the Ohio House last June and is pending in the Senate.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday suggested that Ohio voters were evenly split, with 45 percent supporting the measure and 46 percent opposing it. Senate President Tom Niehaus has suspended hearings on the legislation and says debate will resume after the state’s March 6 primary.
If the bill is enacted, supporters hope to provoke a legal challenge of Roe v. Wade, which upheld a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
Dr. Christopher Estes, an obstetrician-gynecologist and abortion provider in Miami, described the influx of restrictive laws in Florida and elsewhere as dismaying.
“All these things don’t do anything to decrease women’s need for abortion,” he said. “It just hurts their care — particularly for the most vulnerable women.”
Estes, who teaches at the University of Miami’s medical school, said pressure from anti-abortion activists is unlikely to ease.
“They are equally ignorant and determined — it’s a bad combination,” he said. “They’re on a very misguided moral crusade and I don’t see it going away.”
In the presidential campaign, abortion has been mostly a secondary issue thus far, though that could change in the fall.
While President Barack Obama supports abortion rights, the remaining Republican candidates depict themselves as staunchly anti-abortion. Three of them — Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul — have signed the Personhood USA pledge, which says abortions “are always wrong and should be prohibited.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has not signed the pledge, nor did he join his rivals in an anti-abortion forum Wednesday night in South Carolina sponsored by Personhood USA. However, Romney, who once supported legalized abortion, now condemns it and says a future Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade.
For most voters, abortion is not a front-burner issue. In a Gallup Poll earlier this month, 66 percent of respondents said the most important issue facing America related to the economy, while 1 percent cited abortion.
Even among voters in Iowa’s Republican caucus — a relatively conservative bloc — only 13 percent said abortion was the key issue in choosing a candidate.
Personhood USA: http://www.personhoodusa.com/
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/news/health/2012/01/multistate-personhood-push…
More than two dozen House members Friday endorsed a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that sponsors believe would deliver a ban on abortion.
The amendment, if passed by legislators in the 2012 session and approved by voters in November, would guarantee — regardless of age — rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to the unborn.
A contingent of 25 Republicans and one Democrat sponsoring the measure relied upon this cherished constitutional expression to shape an abortion prohibition by defining the beginning of life as the moment eggs are fertilized. The amendment is an invitation to a constitutional challenge of U.S. Supreme Court precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973.
“The Kansas personhood amendment is an opportunity to guarantee the basic human rights of every person, young or old, and end this battle, once and for all,” said Bruce Garren, chairman of the Personhood Kansas Committee.
South Carolina: Up close and in personhood
GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Mitt didn’t make it. All the other would-be Republican presidential hopefuls turned up, having already signed the Personhood petition.
Well, Ron Paul appeared on a video link from Washington.
The event in a Greenville hotel ballroom was organised by the anti-abortion Personhood USA movement, which call itself the civil rights movement for the 21st Century.
Its members are collecting signatures for a petition to change the law so it defines life as beginning at the moment of conception. They want all abortion outlawed, even in cases of rape and incest.
So when was the moment of conception, Rick Perry was asked by one of the three person panel sitting in high-backed comfy chairs. (He was in a comfy chair of his own.)
“When the sperm and the egg come together” he said. “Unless you have a different idea. I am not a doctor. But I grew up on a farm.”
He added that China was headed for the ash heap of history, because of the number of abortions it carried out.
Newt was more legalistic, but also more general. America was at a turning point, he said. An elite in the media, bureaucracy and judiciary were trying to turn the US in to a secular society and impose alien values. Only an articulate and aggressive leader could reverse this.
Each candidate was quizzed on this single issue for 20 minutes and most of their answers pleased the audience.
Each of them was asked to explain Mitt Romney’s position – at first for a woman’s right to choose, now pro-life. As you can imagine, none of them rushed to his defence.
In this state, this audience matters. Those candidates courting the anti-Mitt conservatives have to bother about social issues.
Right at the beginning of this event there was an introduction by a group called Champion the Vote. Their video stated that American Christians had to decide how to honour both the flag and the cross.
Millions of Christian Americans didn’t vote, they said. If they did, election results would be different, the group said.
“Evangelical Christians elected Obama” said one speaker, “either by voting for him or staying at home.” It is their intention that won’t happen again.
But this weekend it is Romney who is in their sights.
CHARLES BABINGTON Associated Press
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Mitt Romney changed his position on legalized abortion out of political convenience, one of the sharpest allegations leveled yet in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary.
Romney, who had supported legalized abortion while Massachusetts governor, says he changed his mind after weighing legislation that “would have created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them.”
Perry, who is struggling to keep his presidential hopes alive, has criticized Romney before, but not always so pointedly. He told an anti-abortion forum in Greenville, S.C., that it’s hard to understand how a public official could change his views on something as fundamental as abortion in his 50s, after decades to think about it.
“This is a decision that Gov. Romney made for political convenience, not an issue of his heart,” Perry said.
Perry has shifted his own views on abortion somewhat. He recently said he no longer supports legal abortions in cases of rape and incest.Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Mitt Romney changed his position on legalized abortion out of political convenience, one of the sharpest allegations leveled yet in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary.
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Personhood USA forum in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Personhood USA forum in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
“If you’re going to be pro-life,” he said Wednesday, “then you’ve got to be pro-life all the way.”
Presidential contenders Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also spoke at the forum, and Ron Paul spoke by video feed from Washington. All three said human life begins at conception.
Romney declined to attend the “Presidential Pro-life Forum.”
Gingrich, the former House speaker, said, “we are fully human upon conception” and that all constitutional rights “should attach at that moment.”
Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, said he doesn’t merely believe human life begins at conception, he knows it. “It’s a biological fact,” he said.
Paul, a Texas congressman, said he delivered thousands of babies during his years in medical practice. The invention of the ultra-sound, he said, made it far easier to show pregnant women the human life growing inside them.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Mitt Romney was noticeably absent from Wednesday’s pro-life forum here, and event organizers were noticeably miffed.
The Romney campaign told event organizers that the former Massachusetts governor had a scheduling conflict, but they noted that he also had a scheduling conflict during a similar forum in Iowa.
The forum was organized by the national right-to-life group Personhood USA. Its president noted twice before the event started that all the candidates had been invited to attend and sign the group’s pro-life pledge. Romney has declined both.
Instead, he spent the evening at a rally in Irmo, S.C.
The four not-Romneys — Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — played up their pro-life bona fides, highlighting their past accomplishments on the issue.
A conversational Perry, the governor of Texas, noted how he had pressed the Texas legislature to defund Planned Parenthood and said that Romney’s change of heart on the issue of abortion was one of “political convenience.”
Gingrich, the former House speaker, warned that the greatest sin is making oneself greater than God, which he believes that some scientists are doing with stem cell experimentation.
Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, fresh off a string of appearances with the Duggar family, told the crowd that science is “not a ethics-free zone of life.”
Lastly, Paul, a Republican representative from Texas who participated by satellite feed, talked about his his experience as a doctor that led him to be pro-life and advocated a states-rights solution to banning abortion.
By Seema Mehta
January 18, 2012, 6:11 p.m.
Reporting from Greenville, S.C.—
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney was the only candidate who did not take part in a “personhood” forum put on by antiabortion activists, but he was an undeniable presence at the gathering taking place just days before South Carolina holds the first primary in the South.
The former Massachusetts governor’s main rivals, who are seeking to consolidate the support of religious voters so they can pose a serious challenge to him, bashed his past positions on abortion. (Romney was once pro-choice, but declared in 2005 that he had changed his mind except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry mocked the switch, saying that he could understand such a reversal in a young adult who had matured and gained wisdom, but not in Romney’s case.
“In your 50s?” he said, speaking to several hundred socially conservative voters gathered in a hotel ballroom. “It is clear to most of us that this was a choice for convenience. This was a decision that Gov. Romney made for a political convenience, not an issue of his heart.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich noted that Romney’s healthcare reform in Massachusetts included taxpayer-funded abortions and he appointed pro-choice judges while governor.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum also participated in the discussion, with Paul taking part by video because he returned to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to vote against an effort to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
The forum took place as the race in the Palmetto State has tightened. Romney still leads, but Gingrich is surging, though it’s unclear whether has enough time to mount a comeback before voters head to the polls on Saturday.
The four men who took part in the forum have all signed a pledge that they would work to advance federal and state laws that recognize that life begins at conception and that they would only appoint judges and other officials that agree with that statement. They largely agree on everything – opposition to abortion, taxpayer funding of abortion, Planned Parenthood and what they characterize as an overly active judiciary.
But they were pushed by moderators about the past positions on the issue of life.
Santorum acknowledged that as a senator, he voted for appropriations bills that contained provisions funding Planned Parenthood, but said he did so because, “we had no ability to defeat [it].” He pledged that as president, he would veto any bill that funds organizations that provide abortions.
“We need to make sure that we have someone who is unabashedly not just pro-life, but unabashedly a fighter for life,” he said.
He also reaffirmed his opposition to embryonic stem cell research, “an area where we cannot and should not go.”
“We are what we allow our society to do,” he said. “And if we allow our society to prey upon innocent human life, we are complicit with it.”
Perry once supported allowing abortion in the case of rape or incest and explained that he changed his view after meeting a woman who was the child of a rape victim.
“She said, ‘Are you telling me that my life is not just as important?’ and I didn’t have an answer for her. And she touched my heart,” he said. “At that particular point in time, I realized, if you’re going to be pro-life, you’ve got to be pro-life. You can’t be partly pro-life.”
Perry pointed to his record in Texas, where under his 11-year tenure as governor, laws were put in place requiring parental consent when minors seek abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood and mandating that women seeking abortion see a sonogram of the fetus.
“It’s not just a lump of tissue,” he said. “it’s a living human being.”
Gingrich was also questioned about his support of measures that allowed abortion in the case of rape and incest, and replied that while he believes life begins at conception, he defended his support of the Hyde amendment , which bars federal funds from being used to pay for abortion in most cases though not for rape and incest.
Gingrich said he believes in a Catholic doctrine that says, “if you can save a majority, than you do it, even though it’s not perfect.”
Paul is anti-abortion but his commitment to the issue is questioned by some activists because of his belief that states ought to enforce laws about such matters as they do with other violent crimes. He did not back down from that stance.
Paul said he supported passing legislation that would take the issue out of the hands of the federal courts, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, but not end abortion in all 50 states.
“It is not monolithic,” he said. “You do what you can in the meantime, but at the same time don’t give up on the other efforts.”
Paul said it was important to try to change people’s minds about abortion, noting that as an obstetrician he was able to do that when he showed ultrasounds to pregnant women. “We cannot change the people’s morality by writing more laws,” he said.
Submitted by Kyle Mantyla on December 28, 2011 – 11:54am
It is remarkable to realize how, in just a few years and despite repeated losses, the “personhood” movement has gone from a fringe effort that had no support to a central part of the Republican presidential primary.
When the first personhood effort in Colorado got trounced at the polls in 2008, anti-choice groups ranging from National Right to Life and Americans United for Life to the Eagle Forum all refused to support these sorts of amendments.
But this year nearly the entire Religious Right movement got behind the personhood effort in Mississippi … which likewise failed miserably. Nonetheless, the movement vows to press forward and has even managed to get nearly all of the leading Republican presidential candidates to sign a pledge promising to support both state and federal personhood amendments.
Last night, Personhood USA and a gaggle of Religious Right anti-choice groups hosted a “Pro-life Tele-Town Hall and Radio Simulcast” that featured Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry being interviewed by Iowa radio show host Steve Deace and Personhood USA’s Keith Mason.
Each candidate received roughly ten minutes to proclaim their anti-choice bona fides and assure those listening that, if elected, they would do everything in their power to outlaw abortion. Rick Santorum even went so far as to declare that presidential candidates should not even be saying they “believe” life begins at conception because it is not a belief, it is a scientific fact:I want to make sure that everybody understands that when politicians say “I believe life begins at conception,” that is conceding ground. And the ground that we concede is by using the term “believe.” Life beginning at conception is not a belief, it is not an article of faith, it is an article of fact. It’s a biological fact that life, in fact, begins as conception and we need to begin to understand that we have to use language that is consistent with what the truth is.
While each of the candidates used the call as an opportunity to highlight their anti-abortion views and agenda, none of the candidates could hold a candle to Michele Bachmann, who made it quite clear that outlawing abortion has been her life’s work … one she is willing to die to see happen:I want everyone to know that I recognize and respect the dignity of every human life from conception until natural death. This is not a check the box thing for me; this is the core of my conviction, this is what I would literally die for. We have a moral obligation to defend other people and the reason for that is because each human being is made in the image of likeness of a holy God. Some of the most elegant words about life came to us from the Declaration of Independence and ti says that God has given us our right to life, and we know that President Obama has a war on the family. What we need to do to end Roe v. Wade and end that horrible holocaust in the United States of life is to pass the Personhood Amendment. I am the first person to sign Personhood USA’s pledge, and I am proud to say that, to define life from the moment of conception. We don’t have to wait for the Supreme Court; we can be involved in this ourselves and I am thrilled to have signed the Personhood Amendment. As President of the United States, I won’t just talk this talk, I won’t relegate pro-lifers to the corner and pat them on the head, I will actually do something about it and I will veto any congressional attempt to provide federal funding of abortion. That’s why I led 40,000 Americans to the United States capitol to block Obamacare. I’m 55, since I’ve been 19 I’ve been very active in the pro-life movement. I get it. This isn’t a check the box issue for me; this is life itself. The one thing we can’t get wrong in this election is the life issue. Too many times we have been relegated to the corner – I will not, as president I will actively pursue the personhood legislation.
By Steve Deace
As voters continue to look for useful ways to help them vet the Republican presidential candidates, a campaign pledge unlike any other was unveiled on Wednesday to help voters learn who truly believes that all life is sacred and a gift from God.
For years GOP presidential candidates have gotten away with giving lip service to the belief that the unalienable right to life applies to all from the moment of conception, and have scraped by on promising to sign a myriad of well-intentioned but ineffective legislation that ends with the words “and then you can kill the baby.”
Thanks to the Personhood USA Pledge released in advance of 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee’s pro-life event in Des Moines Wednesday night, those days of letting politicians off the hook with talking points and clichés have come to an end. Huckabee is himself a supporter of the Personhood USA Pledge.
“Believing that every human life, unborn and born, has intrinsic worth and equal value is the underpinning of our nation’s moral core,” Huckabee said. “As one who lived through the Jim Crow laws of the South and saw how people of color were treated as ‘less’ I am encouraged that the Personhood movement is reminding us that all people are deserving of the protections afforded us as human beings. We should never ask people to determine if one person is ‘more’ valuable than another because of wealth, appearance, IQ, ancestry, ethnic origin, or physical capacity. Attempts to dismiss the concept of Personhood will eventually be met with common sense and common decency. Until then, we must continue to speak out boldly for the rights of all to enjoy ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”
Now we find out who has a position on the sanctity of all human life, and who has a conviction. This pledge compels a candidate to “speak out boldly for the rights of all” as Huckabee said. So far three candidates have risen to the occasion.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have signed their names to the Personhood USA Pledge which states:
I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.”
I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise. I recognize that in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.
I oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and procedures that intentionally destroy developing human beings.
I pledge to the American people that I will defend all innocent human life. Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited.
If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development, and to the best of my knowledge, I will only appoint federal judges and relevant officials who will uphold and enforce state and federal laws recognizing that all human being at every stage of development are person with the unalienable right to life.
Candidates are still welcome to sign on to the pledge at any time between now and the January 3rd Iowa Caucuses. As I am quoted as saying in the press release announcing the pledge:
“This pledge is the most basic articulation of the unalienable right to life. Pro-life voters should consider who has a position on the sanctity of life and who has a conviction on the sanctity of life by the way the candidates respond to this pledge. As a pro-life voter, I know that I won’t vote for anyone on January 3rd that hasn’t signed this pledge.”
With that in mind, this pledge is useful because the principle and methodology behind Personhood is the only way I believe we will finally end the scourge of child killing in America. Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has frankly been a fool’s errand for 38 long, blood-stained years. A presidential candidate that does not understand that the first and most important role of any form of government is to protect our God-given rights simply cannot be trusted to defend the unalienable right to life—and thus cannot honor their oath of office.
As the Declaration of Independence puts it:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
On a personal note, I was most disappointed that Texas Congressman Ron Paul refused to initially sign the pledge when offered the opportunity to do so. I will disclose that for the past couple of days I practically made it my personal mission to persuade his campaign to obtain his signature on the pledge.
Considering how eloquently he has spoke up on the sanctity of life in the past, and how much of a champion of the Founding Fathers’ vision for this country he has been throughout his career, it is simply inexplicable that Congressman Paul has yet to sign this pledge, which is lifted right from the writings of the Founders themselves
I have previously said that Paul made my list of candidates I was willing to vote for, but that was before this pledge became a part of the vetting process. As I stated in the press release announcing the pledge, I will not vote for a candidate that doesn’t sign this pledge because it contains the basic articulation of the most sacred of all rights—the unalienable right to life.
What is even more disheartening about this pledge lacking Congressman Paul’s signature is that three of the people I respect the most in Iowa politics – State Reps. Kim Pearson, Jason Schultz, and Glen Massie – each voted for Personhood in the Iowa Legislature this past session, and each of them has endorsed Paul for president. In addition, Pearson and Massie went so far as to criticize legislation which only seeks to regulate abortion such as what is featured in the Susan B. Anthony pledge—which Congressman Paul has signed.
It appears as if my friends Pearson and Massie may need to educate their own presidential candidate and urge him to provide his much-needed signature on the pledge, or perhaps they endorsed the wrong candidate.