The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
Denver, CO — Personhood USA is responding to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU (case: 110545). The pro-abortion groups issued a statement on Thursday asking the state Supreme Court to block Oklahoma’s citizen-led personhood amendment petition effort. Personhood Oklahoma filed the pro-life ballot initiative on March 1st and has until the end of May to collect the 155,000 signatures required to reach a vote by Oklahoma citizens in November.
The measure would define the word “person” to include every human being, at every age, and guarantee the inherent right to life of every person.
“A ‘person’ as referred to in Article 2, Section 2 of this Constitution shall be defined as any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death. The inherent rights of such person shall not be denied without due process of law and no person as defined herein shall be denied equal protection under the law due to age, place of residence, or medical condition,” it reads.
“The lawsuit filed today is par for the course, and therefore completely anticipated,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “The opponents of personhood will stop at nothing to deny the people of Oklahoma their First Amendment right to petition the government on behalf of the preborn and ultimately recognize the most basic and fundamental human rights of the smallest and most defenseless people group.”
Personhood opponents have previously sued personhood groups who have initiated amendment petitions. Both in 2008 and again earlier this month, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were defeated at the Colorado Supreme Court in their bid to challenge the 2008 and 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendments (cases: 07SA245 and 12SA10).
Last Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a suit filed by Healthy Families Ohio challenging Personhood Ohio’s personhood petition effort (case: 2012-0070). According to NBC 4, Healthy Families Ohio charged that the ballot title, describing the effects of the amendment, was not a “fair and truthful” description of the measure.
Last fall, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-life advocates (case: 2010-CA-01949-SCT). Personhood Mississippi reported that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed suit to prevent the Mississippi Personhood Amendment from reaching the ballot. “Just as this Court cannot prohibit legislators from offering proposals in the House or Senate, this Court cannot impede voters from submitting proposals through the voter initiative process,” read the majority opinion.
“The pro-abortion groups have been beaten back, again and again, with courts in multiple states defending the people’s right to initiate pro-life petitions and upholding the measures’ descriptions,” continued Mason. “We’re confident that this Court will, once again, rule that the people of Oklahoma are well within their constitutional right to pursue laws which promote the values they hold and respect the lives of all people.”
The Ohio Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Personhood Ohio. The suit was aimed at stopping the pro-life organization from circulating a petition that would allow Ohioans a vote to define all human beings as persons, thereby ending abortion throughout the state.
An organization calling themselves Healthy Families Ohio brought the suit in January, asking the Court to split the citizen initiative into two separate measures, after the Ohio Ballot Board ruled the Ohio Personhood Amendment dealt with, and could move forward as, a single subject. Planned Parenthood has previously used the title “Healthy Families,” as a shell to oppose personhood efforts. Mississippians for Healthy Families organized the No on Amendment 26 campaign last fall.
Healthy Families Ohio also charged that the ballot title, describing the effects of the amendment, was inaccurate.
The Ohio Personhood Amendment would define the words “person” and “men” to “apply to every human being at every stage of development of that human being, including fertilization.” The amendment language and ballot title further specify that the measure will not affect “genuine contraception that acts solely by preventing the creation of a new human being” or “In Vitro Fertilization procedures that respect the right to life of newly created human beings.”
The amendment also includes language clarifying that it would apply only to living human beings, from the moment our lives begin, and not “human ‘eggs’ or oocytes prior to the beginning of life.”
Personhood Ohio has until July to collect the 385,000 signatures required to reach the 2012 ballot.
“This ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court confirms what personhood supporters have been explaining all along. Recognizing the legal rights of all persons, regardless of their size or age, will simply put an end to their destruction,” commented Ohio Family Physician and Personhood Ohio Director, Dr. Patrick Johnston. “By dismissing this frivolous lawsuit, the Court got it exactly right. Contraception and reproductive medicine will continue to be widely available in our state. And contrary to the way it has been portrayed, personhood will not grant rights to human eggs. Rather, it will recognize that all men are endowed by our Creator with an unalienable right to life from the moment of our creation.”
Personhood USA is encouraging their supporters to attend the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom – Stop the HHS Mandate!” rally. The national event was organized as a response to the Obama administration’s decision, requiring all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations holding moral objections, to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans.
The event will take place this Friday, March 23rd in over 130 cities across the United States including Denver, Colorado. Protesters will gather at 11:30am at the Colorado state capitol building. A complete list of locations is available online at http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/locations/.
In January, under the leadership of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Department unveiled a rule, requiring contraception and abortifacients to be covered as part of a list of “preventive services for women” under Obamacare.
After intense political pressure, President Obama backtracked, shifting to require insurance companies to cover the associated costs. The move has been received by the religious institutions as an accounting scheme, allowing insurance companies to pass the costs on to the employers, and ineffectual, as it still requires them to offer services considered immoral.
“Christian hospitals, universities, service organizations and other conscientious objectors should not be forced to offer abortion in their healthcare policies. The 1st Amendment is clear in protecting our religious liberties from government intrusion,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “The time has come to stand up to this egregious infringement of governmental authority. We must speak out against to this violation of personal conscience and draw a line in the sand for the sake of the preborn.”
Who: Personhood USA, Personhood Education, & the broad coalition of Pro-religious liberty supporters
What: “Stand Up for Religious Freedom – Stop the HHS Mandate!” Rally and Protest Event
When: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 11:30am in Denver, Rallies will begin at Noon
Where: Denver, Colorado, West Steps of the State Capitol Building; Complete list of cities available online at http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/locations/
Preborn children may soon enjoy protection from violent crime in the state of Colorado. On Monday, the Colorado House gave final approval to HB 1130, the state’s proposed fetal homicide law. The bill now heads to the state Senate where Democrats outnumber Republicans 20 to 15.
Opponents argue that the bill would confer, upon the preborn, the status of legal personhood. Meanwhile, supporters counter that the current criminal code is insufficient in charging violent criminals in cases such as Laura Gorham’s. Gorham lost her 34 week old preborn son in a hit-and-run in Denver in late 2010.
35 states currently have a version of the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act on the books, leaving Colorado as just one of 15 states without such a measure. HB 1130 would apply the current criminal code equally to every member of our species, including preborn children.
“If the commission of any crime codified in this title or Title 42, C.R.S., is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species homo sapiens, the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury may be brought contemporaneously with the underlying charges,” it reads.
Personhood USA Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D. commented on the developments:
“Federal law and 35 states, including California, protect the preborn from crimes which result in their injury or death, but dogs and cats currently have more legal protections in Colorado than preborn children. And yet, Planned Parenthood is lobbying to block these commonsense protections for preborn children and their families. HB 1130 is abortion-neutral. It is a simple, straightforward statement that gives our elected officials the tools necessary to prosecute violent crimes committed against an expecting mother which results in harm to her child.”
“The Fraternal Order of Police supports HB 1130. The Colorado District Attorneys Council supports HB 1130. But Planned Parenthood, an organization that makes hundreds of millions of dollars from abortion, does not. In lobbying against HB 1130, Planned Parenthood has shown their true colors, demonstrated that they are an extremist organization, and exposed their unwillingness to support justice for the preborn and their mothers who have suffered a terrible loss.”
“The Colorado House has our gratitude and should be congratulated for furthering the cause of equal justice under the law.”
Tulsa, OK -- While campaigning in the state of Oklahoma recently, former Pennsylvania Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum signed a draft version of the Oklahoma Personhood Amendment petition. Santorum took time to meet with the Personhood Oklahoma petition circulation volunteers at the Tulsa campaign stop. At the volunteer’s request, Santorum signed the form and demonstrated his strong support for the inherent right to life of every human being.
The Oklahoma Personhood Amendment petition is well under way, with over 13,000 volunteers collecting signatures across the state. Organizers must submit just over 155,000 signatures by the end of May to reach the November ballot where voters can decide to end abortion and recognize the equal right to life of preborn children.
The Oklahoma Personhood Amendment ballot title describes the amendment as defining “a human being for the purpose of equal protection under the law.” The word “person,” as used in the Oklahoma Constitution, would include every human being, from the beginning of our lives, at fertilization “regardless of place of residence, race, gender, age, disability, health, level of function, condition of dependency, or method of reproduction.” No innocent human being could be killed without the legal protection of due process.
Santorum participated in the National Presidential Pro-life Forum, a tele-town hall event sponsored by Personhood USA in December leading up to the Iowa caucus, and the South Carolina Presidential Pro-life Forum, a live event also sponsored by Personhood USA.
At the Iowa event, Santorum explained, “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’s not an article of faith. It’s an article of fact. It’s biological fact that, in fact, that life begins at conception.”
When asked what similar personhood legislation at the federal level would look like at the Iowa event, Santorum said, "The act would be a very simple one that would recognize life from conception to natural death as what it is, a human life. We do not differentiate stages of development, or mental capacity, or capacity at the end of life, as being any less of a person. Personhood is defined as an entity that is genetically human and alive--it is a person as contemplated under our Constitution. The legislation would be one that is simple, and brief, and to the point." When asked what his response would be if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law he commented, “You do what you always do in every case when the Court strikes it down, you fight.”
Santorum joined four other Presidential candidates, including Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Governor Rick Perry, in signing the Personhood USA Presidential Pledge.
“While symbolic, naturally, due to Oklahoma’s petition residency requirement, Santorum’s signature on the Oklahoma Personhood Amendment is welcomed emphatically,” said Personhood Oklahoma Director Dan Skerbitz. “Oklahomans value God’s precious gift that is the lives of our children, and we appreciate Rick Santorum’s uncompromising position on this issue.”
The Colorado Personhood Coalition will host three separate press conferences throughout the state on Wednesday and Thursday to announce the launch of the 2012 Colorado personhood petition drive. The events will take place at 2pm on Wednesday in front of the Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood facility, 10am on Thursday in Colorado Springs in front of the west Planned Parenthood facility, and 2pm on Thursday in Denver in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion mega-center. Over 3,000 volunteers will begin circulating the Colorado personhood petition upon arrival on Wednesday.
Last week at the Colorado Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, Planned Parenthood lost their bid to halt the personhood petition effort.
“This victory at the Supreme Court is further confirmation that it is only a matter of time before the equal rights every human being are recognized under Colorado law,” said Personhood Colorado Director Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D. “With that in mind, we will be taking the fight directly to Planned Parenthood, putting them on notice that the days of aborting Colorado’s preborn babies are nearly over.”
The 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendment has been revised from the 2008 and 2010 personhood ballot initiatives to address voter’s concerns with the issues of contraception, miscarriage, in vitro fertilization, and life-saving medical care. The new and improved measure will detail that only methods of birth control and assisted reproduction that kill a person will be affected, that “spontaneous miscarriages shall not be affected by this section,” and that “medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life shall not be affected by this section.” Medical treatment is defined as including, but not limited to “treatment for cancer, ectopic and molar pregnancy, twin-to-twin trandsfusion syndrome, and placenta previa.”
Planned Parenthood has also recently come out in opposition to Colorado’s Fetal Homicide bill which would provide protections for the preborn. The measure would apply the current criminal code equally for all people, born and preborn. The bill, which has the support of Colorado Right to Life, the Christian Family Alliance, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the District Attorney’s Council could be voted on as soon as Thursday.
“The Colorado Fetal Homicide Bill has the wide, bipartisan support of nearly every major group on both sides of the abortion debate,” continued Garcia Jones. “Planned Parenthood cannot even bring themselves to support a popular and uncontroversial measure protecting children whose mothers have chosen to bring them to term. Their opposition is further evidence of the radical anti-life agenda of the leading opponents of personhood. Planned Parenthood’s concern is not with helping women or children, but rather with protecting their bottom line.”
Who: Colorado Personhood Coalition
What: Press Conference Announcing Petition Drive Launch
When: Wednesday, March 14th, 2pm in Glenwood Springs;
Thursday, March 15th, 10am in Colorado Springs;
Thursday, March 15th, 2pm in Denver
Where: Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood, 50923 Highway 6,Glenwood Springs, CO 81601;
Colorado Springs Westside Planned Parenthood, 3480 Centennial Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80907;
Denver Stapleton Planned Parenthood, 7155 E 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80207
Springs, CO 80907;
Denver Stapleton Planned Parenthood, 7155 E 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80207
Denver, CO – Personhood USA began a massive media campaign on Tuesday in support of the Oklahoma Personhood Act. The pro-life organization has announced that they will run both a 30 second and a 60 second radio spot and a television ad featuring Josiah Presley, an abortion survivor from Norman, Oklahoma, throughout the state.
“My name is Josiah, and I am a survivor. When my mother was two months pregnant, she decided to abort me,” says Presley. “But I survived, and a loving family decided to adopt me. I’m a person now, and I was a person then.”
The ads can be seen and heard in their entirety at www.PersonhoodOK.com
Sponsored by Tulsa Senator Brian Craine, The Oklahoma Personhood Act will recognize that the life of every human being begins at conception. The bill will afford all unborn children “at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state” and define the terms “unborn child” and “unborn children” to “include all unborn children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.”
The measure passed overwhelmingly in the State Senate in February by a vote of 34 to 8. It is currently awaiting committee assignment in the State House.
“Every single day, 20 innocent children lose their lives to abortion in Oklahoma. The good news is there is a 2 to 1 majority of lawmakers who promised us they are pro-life, and they would protect these babies,” states the radio spokesperson. “The bad news is, right now, the personhood bill is stalled in the House of Representatives. Please, contact your Representatives, including Speaker Steele and Governor Mary Fallin. Ask them to quit stalling on the personhood bill. It is no longer enough to say that you are pro-life. We must act pro-life.”
The measure has also earned the endorsement of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The presidential candidate released a statement last month, reading: “As I have stated a number of times in this campaign, I support the personhood principle, and I support states finding ways to defend life by defining personhood under their state constitutions. It is my hope that Congress will one day pass pro-life legislation under the 14th Amendment that defines personhood as beginning at conception.”
“This is the moment that everyone in Oklahoma--dedicated to ending abortion and recognizing the dignity of every preborn baby--has been waiting for,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “The good people of Oklahoma can become the first to declare their state a safe haven for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our human family, but we must act. The people must make their voices heard.”
Denver, CO – 03/13/12 – In a move described as a “protest” against the advancement of equal personhood rights for every human being, the Wilmington, Delaware City Council has passed a resolution supporting legal protections for human gametes. The resolution, authored by Wilmington Councilwoman Loretta Walsh, passed by a vote of 8-4, with one member voting “present.”
“This kind of political showboating has no place in government, at any level,” said Personhood USA Spokesperson Jennifer Mason. “The people of Wilmington should take note that the City Council spends their time passing resolutions in jest instead of dealing with issues of importance to the community.”
The resolution states that “each ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian.” It continues, promoting laws “forbidding every man from destroying his semen.”
“Personhood has nothing to do with human sperm or eggs or preventing the creation of human beings,” continued Mason. “Instead, it has everything to do with recognizing the dignity of every human life and guaranteeing the basic rights that are inherent in every human being, from the moment our lives began, at conception. Trivializing the destruction of innocent human lives by inserting this kind of unscientific falsehood into the debate is beyond the pale.”
For decades, the scientific consensus has been that human life begins at conception.
Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud write in Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects that “[The Zygote]…formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm, represents the beginning of a human being.” Bruce M. Carlson in Patten’s Foundations of Embryology writes, “The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual.” And Douglas Considine writes in Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, “At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.”
Councilwoman Walsh told DelawareOnline.com that the resolution was intended to be a “tongue-in-cheek” way to illustrate “the absurdity of men making health decisions for women.” In contrast, Mason explained, “The greater absurdity is defending the ability to make life and death decisions for preborn babies.”
“This blatant misrepresentation of the issue of personhood is typical of the caustic minds that support abortion,” Mason concluded. “The Wilmington resolution makes a mockery out of a serious discussion regarding our most basic of human rights, the right to life.”
Personhood USA and the nationally recognized Liberty Counsel have announced a new partnership between the two organizations. Liberty Counsel and Personhood USA will work together to promote personhood legislation and personhood initiatives for constitutional amendments nationwide.
Personhood compliant legislation and state constitutional amendments are those which recognize the biological fact that human life begins at fertilization. These laws acknowledge that all human beings are people from the moment of conception, and as such deserve legal protections.
Personhood USA is the fastest-growing prolife organization in the United States and is the only organization in the Unites States solely dedicated to the legal protection of all human beings from the moment of conception. With among the largest prolife grassroots volunteer bases in the country, Personhood USA is leading the charge for Personhood rights for all human beings, with no exceptions and without delay.
Liberty Counsel has an extensive history of fighting for the cause of life. The first case that Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver argued before the U.S. Supreme Court dealt with an unconstitutional restriction on pro-life sidewalk counselors. Last month, Liberty Counsel stopped the Justice Department from its attempt to silence sidewalk counselor Susan Pine, when a federal judge dismissed Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawsuit.1
As Personhood USA continues to launch efforts to protect the preborn in multiple states, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have attempted to block these efforts effectively denying citizens their right to petition.2 In Mississippi, Liberty Counsel represented Personhood USA successfully against these legal actions.
“We have been pleased to work with Liberty Counsel in the past, and we are very pleased with this new partnership and renewed determination to see that all innocent human beings are legally protected in the United States,” stated Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA.
Denver, CO – 03/06/12 – Personhood Colorado has been notified that Planned Parenthood has lost their lawsuit to keep the Personhood amendment off of the 2012 ballot, and the amendment is set to move forward.
Despite an unsuccessful lawsuit in 2008, Planned Parenthood once again attempted to deny voters the opportunity to vote on the Personhood amendment, and they have failed once again.
Planned Parenthood is the largest and wealthiest abortion provider in the United States, reporting over 1 billion dollars in assets, yet still receiving millions in federal funding. http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/ppfa_financials_2010_122711_web_vf?mode…
“Of course it does not surprise us that Planned Parenthood continues to attempt to silence the personhood message nationwide,” commented Jennifer Mason, Personhood USA Spokesperson and Colorado resident. “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion profiteer. No matter what amendment we attempt, they oppose us, ignoring the scientific fact that human life begins at conception. They don’t want abortions to decrease, because they want to continue to profit off of vulnerable women who need help. We expect that Planned Parenthood will continue to attempt to thwart our efforts because they decry any and all restrictions to abortion – which translates to restrictions to their billion dollar profit.”
The 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendment is the first of its kind, with unique language never before filed in the United States. The language of the amendment clearly addresses issues such as IVF and contraception. The full language of the new amendment is available at http://www.personhoodcolorado.com.
“The unanimous decision by the Colorado Supreme Court proved that there is no question that this is a single subject issue and ready to go before the voters,” explained Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D., Legal Analyst for Personhood Colorado. “Once again, Planned Parenthood has frivolously attempted to stand in the way of the people’s right to petition, just as they stand in the way of truth, and in the way of the right to life of every preborn child.”
Personhood Colorado volunteers have until August 6 to collect 85,853 valid signatures from Colorado voters. The amendment is sponsored by radio host and Pastor Kevin Swanson and Rosalinda Lozano of Rachel’s Vineyard.
This is the third attempt to pass a Personhood amendment in Colorado since 2008.
“Our perseverance in Colorado is in response to the lifelong battle we wage against abortion,” continued Garcia Jones. “We will not rest, until every born and preborn child is protected by love and by law.”