The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
In the News
As Tuesday’s vote in Mississippi on “personhood” nears, opponents are stepping up their warnings that such a law would end legal abortion and hamper birth- control and infertility treatments.
Efforts to pass “these so-called personhood amendments” represent “the most extreme assault on a woman’s right to choose in a generation,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat and head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said in a press call Thursday.
These amendments “would cripple a woman’s right to choose, limit access to birth control and put the lives of women with difficult pregnancies at risk,” she said, noting that proponents of personhood have campaigns under way in her home state of Florida as well as in Ohio, Texas and Kansas.
On Tuesday, voters in Mississippi will be able to weigh in on Amendment 26, which would change the definition of “person” or “persons” in the state constitution to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Backers of Amendment 26 say it will outlaw abortion, and stop human cloning, embryo stem-cell research and “other forms of medical cannibalism.” Passage of Amendment 26 will also set up a legal challenge to Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, since abortion was legalized based on the premise that unborn children are not “persons.”
“But what does [the Mississippi personhood amendment] really mean?” asked Ms. Wasserman Schultz. In her and others’ view, it will “outlaw many forms of birth control, including most birth-control pills, IUDs, as well as the morning-after pill”; prohibit doctors from saving a woman’s life by ending an ectopic pregnancy; and “seriously curtail, or possibly even halt, infertility treatments like [in-vitro fertilization]” And, “it would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest or when doctors deem it medically necessary for the health of the mother,” she added.
Personhood supporters say that fetal rights to life should be protected, regardless of the way they were conceived, and that other charges, such as ending all birth control, is “propaganda put out by Planned Parenthood,” said Keith Mason of Personhood USA. His website notes that President Reagan “issued his Personhood Proclamation” on Jan. 14, 1988, saying that “protection of the innocents must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and defended throughout our land.”
In her Thursday phone call with reporters, Ms. Wasserman Schultz also chastised Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for appearing to support personhood bills – he told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in October that he would “absolutely” support an amendment that says that life begins at conception.
“These amendments are a serious threat to the rights of women and parents, and Mitt Romney’s support should give them serious pause,” the DNC chairwoman said.
“It’s too bad this White House isn’t as focused on attacking unemployment as they are in attacking our campaign,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, on Thursday.
Meanwhile, leaders of the personhood movement do not count Mr. Romney as a supporter of their cause because, despite his many pro-life positions, the candidate said in September he would not support a federal personhood amendment.
Ohio group pushing to define life at fertilization says it will refile its proposed amendment - The Republic, AP
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group that wants the Ohio Constitution amended to declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized plans to resubmit paperwork that had been rejected.
Attorney General Mike DeWine previously turned down Personhood Ohio’s summary of the proposed amendment, saying it included things the amendment would not affect.
Patrick Johnston of Personhood Ohio said Wednesday that the group will change the amendment to say it won’t affect contraception or in vitro fertilization. The group also must submit another 1,000 valid signatures from Ohio voters.
The group’s wording must be approved before it can collect the 385,000 valid signatures needed for the amendment to appear on 2012 ballots.
Catholics — posted by jeff kunerth on November, 2 2011
ReligionLink reports on the new abortion battleground: states defining the beginning of life at the moment of conception:
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters in Mississippi will cast ballots on a so-called “personhood amendment” that would define a person as existing from the moment of the fertilization of an egg. Abortion foes in Florida, South Dakota and Ohio are considering similar measures for 2012.
Many abortion opponents back the measure because they believe passage of Proposition 26 would effectively end legalized abortion by making destruction of an embryo at any stage and for any reason illegal.
The measure’s supporters also hope passage will spark a grassroots movement to ban abortion in other states and provide the U.S. Supreme Court with a test case to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
But some in the pro-life movement fear the opposite outcome – that Proposition 26 would be so far-reaching that it would provoke a backlash in favor of the pro-choice side, and that it would lead the high court to reaffirm Roe rather than overturn it.
In fact, the Catholic bishops of Mississippi have called the personhood amendment a “noble initiative” but said they would not support it.
Still, the Mississippi ballot measure has strong support from many well-known groups and state politicians and could make Mississippi the first state to pass such a law.
The personhood amendment is on one level just the latest skirmish in a wider battle over abortion rights that is increasingly taking place in the states rather than in Washington. Governors and legislatures are cutting funds for Planned Parenthood in some cases or are trying to pass laws that, for example, would require abortion providers to show women an ultrasound of the fetus or listen to a fetal heartbeat.
The subject is also returning as a campaign issue as the 2012 presidential election season heats up. The GOP hopefuls are being careful to court pro-life voters, while the Obama administration is angering the Catholic hierarchy and other abortion opponents with policies that many say would sharply expand coverage for abortion and contraception.
- A flood of abortion-related legislation has been introduced in state legislatures this year. Among other things, a number of states are seeking to limit private insurance coverage of abortions.
- On Oct. 13, the U.S. House passed the Protect Life Act, 251-172, a move praised by abortion opponents, including the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The measure aims to protect conscience rights of health-care workers and apply long-standing federal policies on abortion funding and was introduced in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010.
- Americans are conflicted about the morality of abortion, but a majority say it should be legal in all or most cases, according to a survey conducted in April and May by the Public Religion Research Institute.
For decades now, the pro-choice movement has successfully distorted the abortion debate by ignoring the essential question – is an unborn child a living human or isn’t it? – in favor of their infamous “right to choose” canard. A recent op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “How an anti-abortion push to redefine ‘person’ could hurt women’s rights” employs this tactic shamelessly:
“The people who attack reproductive rights are turning a blind eye to the impossible choices families have to make together, instead callously insisting that it’s lawmakers who know what’s best for women, not women themselves. ... The logo for Personhood USA, a leading organization behind the measures, echoes that idea. It shows what looks like a full-term fetus curled up in a map of the United States, which acts as its womb. The woman is conspicuously absent. Personhood advocates are interested in only one kind of ‘person.’”
Credit should go to the author of this piece for at least being honest. Founder of Feministing.com and author of The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, Jessica Valenti clearly does not believe that the unborn are living human beings. Peddling the myth that “science” shows no evidence that life begins at conception and citing a 2005 legislative proposal that would have criminalized “suspicious” miscarriages in Virginia (straw man, anyone?), Valenti paints a doomsday scenario of a “personhood” world in which women are prosecuted for failing to take prenatal vitamins, miscarriages are investigated by law enforcement, and of course, abortion is no longer available on demand.
In reality, what the personhood initiative seeks to do is reinvigorate a culture of life in a society that is increasingly selling its soul in the name of “rights” and the autonomy of the individual. Contrary to what abortion advocates claim, the scientific evidence does support the humanity of the unborn. From the moment of conception the mother is carrying a genetically distinct human being in her womb.
The consequences of denying this irrefutable medical fact have been tragic. Since 1973 more than 50 million children have been aborted in the United States. This is tragic not only because these tiny human beings were never given a chance at life, it is tragic because the mothers of these children – often overwhelmed by fear and panic and unaware of the full implications of their actions – must forever live with the emotional and psychological consequences of their choice.
Eradicating post-abortion guilt is a big part of the campaign to venerate a woman’s “right to choose.” By refusing to acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child, American society and its legal system have fostered a disposable-man mentality. If a baby is unwanted, inconvenient or imperfect, then its mother has a right to kill it. (This “unwanted, therefore not worthy of protecting or preserving” mentality has jeopardized the lives of the handicapped and the frail elderly, who are themselves often inconvenient and expensive, and has fostered an unhealthy, me-first, self-centered attitude.)
Ironically, of course, if the same woman decides that she wants to have a child, then the process of pregnancy and childbirth magically transforms into a sacred miracle that is to be respected and celebrated. The same embryo that “wasn’t human” when she didn’t want to be pregnant is now “her child” simply according to her feelings about the situation. It’s all about how the mother chooses to define her pregnancy.
It is the job of our legal system to reconcile competing interests when they come into conflict with one another. At present, there is no mechanism in place to advocate for the interests of the unborn, and this is what the personhood movement seeks to change. Apart from such a change, abortions will continue at epidemic proportions, and all of humanity will be devalued in the process.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty. He is also chairman of the Center for a Just Society.
On November 8, 2011, Mississippians will elect statewide, legislative and some county offices. Voters also will decide three constitutional initiatives: Personhood, Voter ID, and Eminent Domain. This is the first time in our history Mississippi has ever had three constitutional initiatives on the ballot. Only two have ever made it to a statewide vote prior to this year—both addressed term limits and both failed.
The three initiatives on the General Election ballot address some of our most fundamental rights: the right to life, the right to vote, and the right to private property. Mississippians will vote yes or no to the following questions:
• Should the term “person” be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or equivalent thereof?
• Should the Mississippi Constitution be amended to require a person to submit government issued photo identification in order to vote?
• Should government be prohibited from taking private property by eminent domain and then transferring it to other persons?
It is imperative Mississippians educate themselves on not only their candidates, but also these initiatives prior to the election. State law requires the Secretary of State’s Office to hold five public hearings across the State to educate voters on the three initiatives. Our Agency held nine in areas geographically dispersed across the State. These hearings were conducted as an open forum, where both sides were allowed to address each issue and refute any claims or preconceived notions regarding the three topics. We heard heartfelt, educated, and well-researched discussions from Mississippians passionate about these issues. All comments from each of the nine hearings were transcribed and placed on our website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/elections/initiatives. I encourage you to read these discussions prior to the election.
For an initiative to pass, it not only must receive a majority of votes cast (fifty percent, plus one), it must also receive 40% of total votes cast. Mississippians will vote on these issues last on the General Election, so I encourage you to vote all the way to the end of the ballot. These initiatives need to be determined on their merit, and not a technicality.
Do not let someone else decide these issues for you. Educate yourself prior to the election and cast your ballot on November 8th. An informed voter is an empowered voter. Our soldiers risk their lives every day so you can cast a ballot. Honor them with your vote.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann
Mississippi, personhood and the future of the anti-abortion movement
Posted by Sarah Kliff at 03:00 PM ET, 10/29/2011
Earlier this week, Salon’s Irin Carmon generated a lot of conversation
(Rogelio V. Solis – AP) with her piece on the “personhood movement”: a burgeoning effort among anti-abortion advocates to amend state constitutions to define life as beginning at conception. Such an amendment could outlaw abortion and may hinder access to birth control or in vitro fertilization.
So far though, no personhood amendment has gotten very close to becoming law. Many don’t get enough signatures to land a ballot initiative, and those that do have failed by double-digit margins. But Carmon thinks that may change when Mississippi votes on a new personhood amendment, Initiative 26, next week. “In the most conservative state in the country, with an energized, church-mobilized grass roots, Mississippi could well be the first state to pass one,” she writes.
One key thing Carmon picked up on in her piece is the relatively fringe role the idea of personhood has played within the anti-abortion movement. I covered the personhood movement for Newsweek in 2008, when Colorado was the first-ever state to vote on such an amendment. The whole campaign was organized by an energetic 21-year-old named Kristi Burton. The anti-abortion establishment, however, was none too thrilled with it. Here’s what I wrote back then:Burton has not received much support for Amendment 48 from her most natural allies—the country’s major pro-life groups. Heavyweights like National Right to Life and Americans United for Life are not backing it. “There are other ways to protect human life that we focus on because we believe they are the most effective,” says Clark Forsythe, president of Americans United for Life. Although pro-life leaders generally agree with Burton that life begins at fertilization, they fear a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade would ultimately be slapped down by the Supreme Court—still at least one vote shy of an anti-Roe majority—setting back the movement. “The established pro-life movement feels … we should stop trying to overturn Roe because the time isn’t right,” says Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative public-interest firm that has advised Amendment 48. “Then there is this huge grassroots movement saying it’s immoral not to try and save innocent lives.”
The Colorado ballot initiative went on to fail by a 40-point margin, but similar initiatives began popping up in other states. And when Carmon traveled to Mississippi, she found much greater enthusiasm for personhood activism, noting that some Democrats there had come to endorse it. Perhaps an even more telling sign of personhood tiptoeing into the mainstream is its recent endorsement by presidential contender Mitt Romney. He told told Fox News he would “absolutely” support a constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at conception.
Still, its hard to argue that personhood has become part of the mainstream anti-abortion agenda. Most major groups in the movement are still skittish about the strategy. When I attended the National Right to Life Committee’s state strategy conference this year, there was no mention of personhood: The group was more focused on late-term abortion bans and ending insurance coverage for the procedure. Americans United for Life, the country’s oldest anti-abortion group, provides states advocates with dozens of model laws to use in their legislatures. But it has not written a model law to define life as beginning at conception.
The Mississippi vote next week will be a key one to watch for the personhood movement. If it passes, it could very well draw a Supreme Court challenge on the issue while forcing anti-abortion advocates to figure out where it fits into their movement. But if a personhood amendment can’t pass in Mississippi, it could draw more questions about whether this could succeed anywhere.
Personhood Amendment: States Have Proposed 600 Anti-Choice Bills This Year - What Are They? Int'l Business Times
As the “Yes on 26” campaign continues rolling toward what we pray will be victory at the polls on November 8th, national “leaders” of Planned Parenthood are, predictably, marketing fear and loathing of the life initiative – crying how Personhood Mississippi may spark a “national movement”!
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards sent out a nationwide email imploring abortion supporters to beware of the Personhood movement, saying “This ballot initiative is about more than just one state… Anti-choice activists hope that a win in Mississippi will lead to a national movement.”
Mississippians will decide in just a matter of days whether or not to include “every human being from the moment of fertilization” in its state constitution’s definition of “person.” Pro-life Personhood proponents rightly argue that the state’s Initiative 26 is simply an effort to extend under Mississippi law protections of our U.S. Constitution to unborn human persons; critics falsely claim it would also ban birth control, and create onerous hurdles to in-vitro fertilization medical practice.
In her Planned Parenthood email, Richards included a copy of a letter from Felicia Brown-Williams, outreach director for pro-abortion Mississippians for Healthy Families, who wrote that Initiative 26 would “cause terrible suffering across the state.”
What victory in Mississippi would do is halt a locus of American genocide. Mississippi has 38% black population – the largest of any state in the Union except the 55% of the District of Columbia – and the state has awakened to the disturbing knowledge that the abortion industry disproportionately targets minorities.
As Americans we tend to think genocide only happens in other places…far, far away. But one need not travel to Darfur to witness genocide in action. In reality, it is as close as your own town or neighborhood, thanks to the abortion industry. Since 1973, the abortion industry has murdered over 30% of the black American population. And WE are footing the bill.
As you read this, Congress is already debating the 2012 Budget – a budget that will include hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for Planned Parenthood, abortion clinics and baby murdering factories that target blacks – UNLESS YOU SPEAK UP.
To understand the issue, one must understand history. Planned Parenthood has worked hard over the years to whitewash its history and hide the truth. But thanks to US copyright laws and diligent internet activists, the truth is finally widely available and publicly revealed.
Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and the abortion movement wrote prolifically during her career. However, Planned Parenthood, who owned the copyright to these publications, did everything they could to keep those books and pamphlets out of the public eye. Why, you might ask? The answer is because Margaret Sanger was a notorious eugenicist, favorite KKK speaker and Nazi advocate who believed that “the weak, the poor and the blacks were little more than weeds who needed to be uprooted and/or sterilized to further the good of mankind.” Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But that was exactly her point in “The Pivot of Civilization” published in 1922.
Thankfully, the copyright on Sanger’s works have finally expired, and Planned Parenthood can no longer hide their racist roots. Pro-Life truth tellers are working hard to make scanned copies of Sanger’s unedited works available on the internet in an effort to expose Sanger, and the abortion industry’s war on blacks. Consider this quote from Sanger’s evil diatribe “What Every Girl Should Know,” many versions of which she publicly delivered and which she published in 1920:
“... the Aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.” Margaret Sanger, “What Every Girl Should Know” 1920, pg. 47 (emphasis added).
Or this quote, written in a 1939 letter to a Dr. Clarence Gamble who was helping her establish her sterilization initiative called “The Negro Project” – “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro Population.”
Ancient history? Think again. Consider these facts as reported by the Guttmacher Institute, a PRO-ABORTION think tank:
Minority women constitute only 13% of the 15-44 year old female population, but receive 36% of all abortions.
Black women are 5 times as likely as whites to get an abortion.
On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the US.
16 million black babies have been aborted since 1973. Since the number of current living American blacks is 36 million, this represents an over 30% reduction in the black American population.
A 2004 Center for Disease Control report showed nearly half of all pregnancies among black women end in abortion.
If destruction of the black population isn’t the aim of the abortion industry; why are 94% of abortion clinics located in urban black neighborhoods? This figure comes directly from former Planned Parenthood board member Dr. LaVerne Tolbert.
Do modern, educated Americans still believe in eugenics and eliminating “undesirables?” Apparently so, if they think like Justice Ginsburg … “Frankly I had thought that at that time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “The Place of Women on the Court” New York Times 7-2-2009
AND YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE EXTERMINATION! Planned Parenthood alone receives over $300 Million in taxpayer dollars every single year, which enables PP to continue building nearly all their abortion factories in poor black neighborhoods. Clearly, Margaret Sanger’s influence still reigns at the International Planned Parenthood Council, where her grandson, Alexander Sanger heads the corporation to this day.
This is why the Personhood Movement is so important, and why Planned Parenthood is right to fear its power, and its persuasiveness to change America’s heart toward her unborn. We will once again as a people stand strong for innocent life!
The one-sentence Mississippi amendment, Initiative Measure Number 26, simply reads, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Faye Wattleton, a black American, was Planned Parenthood’s longest serving president from 1978-1992. She summed up the pro-abortion mentality that rejects eugenics and child killing in a rare moment of candor in an interview with Ms Magazine:
“I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don’t know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus, but it is the woman’s body, and therefore ultimately her choice.”
Planned Parenthood’s own Annual Reports reveal how rabidly pro-abortion they are. In 2009 they committed 332,278 abortions, while only serving 7,021 prenatal clients and making a measly 977 adoption referrals. That’s 340 abortions for every single, solitary adoption referral.
This is done on our dime. Since 1987, Planned Parenthood has received $3.9 BILLION in taxpayer dollars. In the last two years, Planned Parenthood’s government subsidy has increased to over $360 million dollars per year.
The pro-abortion research group Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) reports that Medicaid pays for an estimated $196 million worth of abortions performed on low – income women per year! Add in the $300 million per year Planned Parenthood receives in “federal subsidy,” and you find that every year our government is spending nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS FACILITATING ABORTION!
The killing MUST STOP. We are today at a critical turning point in the pro-life movement, an moment in history when we seize the rapidly emerging opportunity to affirm the personhood and intrinsic dignity of all nascent human life – or we abandon this fight to the forces of darkness.
I chose to stand foursquare for life.
I stand with more than one million Americans who have affirmed the Personhood of the innocent unborn by petitioning government. The Personhood Movement is rapidly growing, but we need to do much more. Once the personhood is established of those who have been conceived, but yet are still in their mother’s womb, each will in fact be accorded the same rights as you and I have, so eloquently summarized in the Declaration of Independence. Their God-given right that they 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 will finally be protected by law.
It was only after William Wilberforce convinced the public that slaves were persons that their liberty was achieved in Great Britain. So this modern-day Personhood Movement has the potential to enable those yet to be born to live, as free and equal men and women. Pray a match will be struck in Mississippi to light the beacon of justice.
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Alan Keyes is an independent columnist