The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
Little Rock, AR -- Personhood Arkansas has resubmitted a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to life of all human beings. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel cited multiple reasons for rejecting the measure last week. The pro-life group has adopted several of the AG’s recommendations, and they are expecting a more favorable second opinion. If approved, organizers will have until July to collect the 73,800 signatures required for ballot access.
In his opinion, McDaniel argued that the measure’s popular name must include the effects of the amendment, a charge the proponents contest in an addendum to the resubmission. “Under the AG’s standard of review, the people would not be able to initiate a measure on “Freedom of Speech” because the popular name “Freedom of Speech” would not specifically describe political contributions, obscenity and pornography, artistic expression, the right to protest, etc.,” they wrote.
The phrase “every stage of development” was utilized to define the inclusive scope of the protections ensured by the amendment. McDaniel also claimed that the phrase was ambiguous.
Personhood advocates responded that “the term is used in dozens of state laws, several federal laws, and in the most commonly used medical and biological system of scientific classification of the human being, the Carnegie Stages of Human Development. For example, the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act applies to any ‘member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.’”
The proposal also clarifies that the “Amendment shall have no effect on medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life.” McDaniel questioned why the mother’s life was not specifically mentioned, supposing that the language was chosen to avoid “constitutional difficulties.” However, the amendment drafters point out that the language was carefully considered and chosen to include medical conditions such as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome which can pose a threat to the life of children in utero.
“These are just a few examples of the errors Attorney General McDaniel made when issuing his opinion last week,” said Personhood Arkansas’ Preston Dunn. “Our hope is that the AG’s office will act in good faith by offering support to those of us who want the democratic initiative process to work for everyone including those who are gravely concerned about the 4,532 preborn children killed in our state in 2010.”
Denver, Colo. — Planned Parenthood filed an appeal on Monday, challenging a ruling from the Colorado Secretary of State Title Board in favor of Personhood Colorado. The 2-1 decision from the board allows a proposed state constitutional amendment, applying the right to life equally to human beings of every age, to proceed to petition.
This is the second such challenge from the pro-abortion group at the state Supreme Court. In 2008, Planned Parenthood filed suit in an attempt to stop a personhood measure from reaching the ballot. The Court dismissed their assertion that the amendment violated the single subject rule which limits citizen-led initiatives to a single issue.
“This appeal is a frivolous attempt to put the brakes on our right to petition on behalf of the preborn,” said Personhood Colorado Director Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D. “The Court has previously ruled that guaranteeing the rights of a class of human being is a single issue, and we expect a similar ruling this year.”
The new proposal lists the effects of its enactment including that only methods of birth control and assisted reproduction that kill a person will be affected.
The amendment also details that “spontaneous miscarriages shall not be affected by this section” and “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.”
The measure further specifies that children conceived through rape or incest shall not be killed for a crime committed by the biological father of the child.
“The charges of single subject violation and vagueness are absurd,” continued Garcia Jones. “Colorado personhood amendments have previously defined constitutional rights as applying to every human being from the moment our lives begin. This proposal does the same thing, and also clears up any ambiguity of what that would entail as applied.”
Planned Parenthood’s 2010 annual report shows 329,455 abortions committed and $487 million dollars in tax-funded income, an increase of over $120 million from the previous year.
“Obviously, this is not about legal ambiguities,” said Garcia Jones. “This is a group, with a vested financial interest in continuing the destruction of innocent life, interfering with the democratic process. It is a naked attempt to protect their pocket book.”
Denver, Colo. — The Colorado Secretary of State’s Title Board approved Personhood Colorado’s new amendment language Wednesday night prompting Planned Parenthood to announce an appeal of the decision to the state Supreme Court. The board ruled 2-1, allowing the measure to advance to the statewide petition. Opponents have five days to file the challenge.
“We feared that having to come back again for a third attempt might have caused some fatigue in our volunteers, but Planned Parenthood’s attempt to block our efforts will help us by uniting and reminding pro-life advocates of why we are fighting and who we are fighting against,” said Personhood Colorado Director Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain released a statement claiming that the amendment will violate the single-subject rule which limits citizen initiatives to one issue, a charge that has twice been rejected by the board and by the Court in 2008.
Similar to the previous challenges, attorneys for the abortion proponents will argue that the new proposal is “vague” despite the inclusion of a host of new clarifying details.
The 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendment reads: “In order to affirm basic human dignity, be it resolved that the right to life in this constitution applies equally to all innocent persons.”
Revisions in the new language will list the effects of enacting the measure protecting the right to life of every human being. This includes that only birth control devices that kill a person shall be affected, and only assisted reproduction methods that kill a person shall be affected. The amendment will not affect spontaneous miscarriages, and will not affect “medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life.” The latter is defined as including but “not limited to treatment for cancer, ectopic and molar pregnancy, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and placenta previa.”
“Planned Parenthood’s challenge does not come as a surprise. They are losing the battle in the court of public opinion, and the improved language only ensures that this trend will continue,” continued Garcia Jones. “The abortion industry is really only left with one option. It is the same tactic they used to impose abortion on the entire nation— take the decision out of the hands of the people.”
The latest annual report from Planned Parenthood shows an increase of over $120 million in government funding. The group received $487 million dollars from the taxpayers in 2010.
“It’s not enough that they take our money to continue leading the nation in the number of abortions committed,” said Garcia Jones. “They also want to take away our right to petition.”
Little Rock — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would recognize the personhood rights of every human being. The measure, proposed by Personhood Arkansas, guarantees that: “No innocent person shall be denied the right to life.” The term “person” applies “to all human beings, including the unborn, at every stage of their development.”
Among the various reasons McDaniel cited for rejecting the measure was that the phrase “every stage of development” was not specific in defining which human beings would enjoy the full protection of law.
This language is currently used to define the scope of legal protections in Arkansas’ Fetal Homicide Law, the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Federal Innocent Child Protection Act, and in 27 state laws throughout the nation.
“Clearly, this is activism masquerading as a charge of ambiguity,” explained Personhood Arkansas’ Preston Dunn. “The phrase is used by attorneys and embryologists alike to mean everyone.”
McDaniel took issue with the submitted popular name “Paramount Right to Life,” writing, “Your measure would not only deny public funding for any abortion…it would prohibit such abortions altogether….yet likewise fails to mention those restrictions in the popular name.”
“We can only conclude that the Attorney General is instructing us to include all of the effects of our proposal in its very name,” continued Dunn. “This alone should reveal the untenable requirements imposed upon us.”
Last July, McDaniel told a crowd: “This legislative session, the Attorney General’s office had to work harder at opposing legislation than we’ve had in probably all the other legislative sessions previously put together. I had 37 bills I had to go and oppose in the legislature, but I’m telling you that with the help of our legislative leaders, Democrats, our Governor, and our staff, you know how many of those 37 became law? Zero, not one of them.”
Curtis Coleman wrote in the The New South Conservative last April that “McDaniel [is] blatantly pro-abortion, as starkly illustrated by the fact that in almost every committee hearing in which a pro-life measure was discussed during the recently adjourned 88th Assembly of the Arkansas Legislature, a representative from the Attorney General’s office was on hand to oppose the bill.”
“McDaniel writes in his opinion that ‘this office has been given no authority to determine the merits of the proposal,’ and yet, he is acting as a one man, self-appointed Supreme Court,” said Dunn. “We are forced to challenge the federal tyranny that is Roe v. Wade. But to get there, we must deal with a biased and politically motivated Attorney General. This should serve as a wake-up call to every Arkansan who understands—and holds in high regard—the inalienable right to life.
Personhood Arkansas is refiling the amendment, adopting as many of the recommendations as possible, and preparing a lawsuit to challenge an anticipated second rejection.
Des Moines, IA -- Four Republican candidates participated in a pro-life forum Tuesday night, answering tough questions about pro-life issues. The National Presidential Pro-life Forum was the first of its kind, focusing solely on the sanctity of life. The event was sponsored by several prominent pro-life organizations including Personhood USA, a grassroots, Christian organization providing assistance for state groups working to recognize the rights of every human being at every age. Champion the Vote, an organization committed to actively advancing traditional values, co-sponsored the event which had over 26,000 participants in the simulcast tele-town hall.
The forum was hosted by Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated radio host, and broadcast on his Salem Network program and 88 of Bott Radio Network’s radio stations across the country.
When asked about his signature on the Personhood USA Presidential Pledge in which candidates are required to recognize the right to life of all persons “without exception and without compromise," Texas Governor Rick Perry cited a recent conversation with international pro-life speaker and Personhood USA spokeswoman Rebecca Kiessling. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest,” said Perry. “Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, and reflecting on that--I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas--but she made a statement to me that was really profound and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann used the opportunity to reiterate her intention to actively pursue the repeal of Obamacare and a federal personhood bill protecting every human being from the moment of conception until natural death. “What we need to do to upend Roe vs. Wade and end the horrible holocaust of life in the United States is pass the personhood amendment… We don’t have to wait just for the Supreme Court, we can be involved in this ourselves,” said Bachmann. "The one thing we can’t get wrong in this election is the life issue… Of all of the candidates in this race, I am the only one who will repeal Obamacare."
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was asked what a personhood bill pursuant to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would entail. "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,” replied Santorum. “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." Following the line of questioning, Santorum was asked what his response would be if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law. “You do what you always do in every case when the Court strikes it down, you fight,” he continued.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked similarly about personhood legislation. “It’s based on the fact that in the Constitution, in the 14th Amendment, it says very specifically: Congress shall define ‘What is a ‘person?’” he said. “I think one way to solve this would be to write the bill so that it is not appealable.” When asked what steps he would take to ensure that taxpayer dollars were not used to pay for abortion. "On the very first day I will sign an Executive Order reinstating Ronald Reagan’s Mexican City Policy,” Gingrich concluded. “I will also move to defund Planned Parenthood and transfer the money from Planned Parenthood to adoption services. I would also overhaul the U.S. Foreign service to get rid of the people who are aggressively pro-abortion. "
“We’re so grateful that the candidates who are joining us on this call have signed the personhood pledge, participated in the forum, and made commitments on behalf of the preborn child,” added Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “I think it’s important to have the candidate’s positions on life known. Now it is critical that the people of Iowa show up to vote."
Four of the Republican candidates for the presidency including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Texas Governor Rick Perry are set to participate in the first ever National Presidential Pro-life Forum hosted by Personhood USA and several of the country’s top pro-life organizations.
Co-sponsors for the event include JillStanek.com, Live Action, CathoicVote.org, Vision America Action, IAmWholeLife.com, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, Liberty Counsel, Bott Radio Network, Freedom Federation, Frederick Douglass Foundation, Champion the Vote, Oak Initiative, The Call, Georgia Right to Life, Rock for Life, and Iowa Right to Life.
The 90-minute event will be broadcast live on Steve Deace’s nationally syndicated radio program. Participants will have an opportunity to question the candidates on issues of importance to pro-life voters.
The tele-town hall will reach 300,000 identified Christians by phone and the radio simulcast will be broadcast to 2.4 million listeners in the key states of Iowa and South Carolina.
“This country has seen 40 years of abortion on demand resulting in the deaths of over 50 million unborn children. It is imperative that the pro-life have full knowledge of the positions of those seeking the nation’s high office,” said Personhood USA President Keith Mason. “This election will be the most important of our lifetime, and this event is essential in helping us determine who will be the staunchest defender of the rights of all persons, born and unborn.”
Who: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry
What: National Presidential Pro-life Forum, Tele-Town Hall and Radio Simulcast
When: Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 8 – 9:30pm CST
To register for the event, go to http://www.personhoodusa.com/townhall.
ARVADA, Colo. -- Texas Congressman Ron Paul became the fifth Republican presidential candidate to sign the Personhood Presidential Candidate Pledge on Thursday. Personhood USA received a signed copy of the pledge along with a statement attempting to clarify his position on the personhood rights of the preborn.
Paul joins Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Texas Governor Rick Perry in signing the organization’s Personhood Republican Presidential Candidate Pledge.
Paul, well known for his defense of liberty, authored an addendum to the signed pledge in which he stated, “You can’t have Liberty without Life.”
“I don't just believe life begins at conception; I know it as a scientific certainty,” he writes.
Upon receiving the signed pledge with the addendum, Personhood USA requested clarification from the Paul campaign for inconsistencies between the accompanying statement and the pledge language.
The pledge requires that the candidates “stand…with the Republican Party platform in affirming that [they] “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.”
Regarding the latter, Rep. Paul stated that “The Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to cancel out the Tenth Amendment. This means that I can’t agree that the Fourteenth Amendment has a role to play here, or otherwise we would end up with a ‘Federal Department of Abortion.’”
The 14th amendment, which protects individual liberties from state encroachment, requires that: "No State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
“We should allow our republican system of government to function as our Founders designed it to: protect rights at the federal level, enforce laws against violence at the state level,” writes Paul.
“The United States suffered through a terrible civil war precisely because the federal government left it to the states to decide whether an entire class of people were to be considered persons or property,” explained Personhood USA Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
“If Rep. Ron Paul believes that the preborn are persons under the law, why wouldn't they be protected under the 14th amendment?” asks Garcia Jones. “Rep. Paul's vague statement on the duty of the federal government to ‘protect rights’ is without effect if there is no mechanism for guaranteeing those protections.”
“Personhood USA understands and agrees with Rep. Paul, that crimes, including murder, are to be prohibited by state laws,” continued Garcia Jones. “However, pro-lifers are left wondering how a President Paul would seek to protect the right to life in states that would choose to continue to allow abortion after Roe vs. Wade is overturned.”
Perry Joins Fellow Presidential Candidates for Pro-life Forum; Pro-life Heavyweights Join to Co-Host
ARVADA, Colo. -- Texas Governor Rick Perry has agreed to participate in a national pro-life tele-town hall and radio simulcast event co-sponsored by Personhood USA. Perry joins former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as confirmed guests. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have received open invitations.
The event is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 27th, from 8:00 to 9:30 pm CST. Individuals can register for the call at www.personhoodusa.com/townhall. The 90-minute event will be broadcast live on the nationally-syndicated radio program, the Steve Deace Show.
Meanwhile, several of the country’s most prominent pro-life organizations have signed on to sponsor the event which organizers have titled the National Presidential Pro-life Forum. Groups joining to back the event include: JillStanek.com, Live Action, CathoicVote.org, Vision America Action, and IAmWholeLife.com.
The pro-life organizations join a list which includes the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, Liberty Counsel, Bott Radio Network, Freedom Federation, Frederick Douglass Foundation, Champion the Vote, Oak Initiative, The Call, Georgia Right to Life, Rock for Life, and Iowa Right to Life.
All four of the current participants have signed Personhood USA’s Personhood Republican Presidential Pledge, promising 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.”
“The upcoming election crucial for the lives and futures of millions of children,” said Personhood USA President Keith Mason. “If you believe, as we do, that the battle for the lives of the preborn is the most pressing issue of our day, and you have questions for the candidates, this event is your opportunity to get the answers you deserve.”
DENVER, Colo. — 12/22/2011 — The Colorado Secretary of State’s Title Board voted Wednesday night allowing Personhood Colorado’s proposed personhood amendment to proceed. In a 3-0 decision, the board dismissed a challenge filed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. This is the third such challenge filed by the pro-abortion coalition in an attempt to block a Colorado personhood measure based on the requirement that ballot initiatives be limited in scope to a single subject. The decision is the third straight victory for the Colorado right to life advocates.
Personhood Colorado submitted new language for 2012 reading: “In order to affirm basic human dignity, be it resolved that the right to life in this constitution applies equally to all innocent persons.” The amendment defines “person” as applying “to every human being regardless of the method of creation” and “human being” as “a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.”
The amendment language also clarifies the effects of enacting a personhood measure. In keeping with the prohibition on killing innocent persons, the new section will specify that only birth control and assisted reproduction methods that kill developing preborn human beings would be affected.
Spending much of the last two election cycles battling misinformation propagated by personhood opponents, the drafters of the amendment also cite the fact that spontaneous miscarriages and “medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life” would not be affected by the enactment of a personhood measure. The latter is defined as including but “not limited to treatment for cancer, ectopic and molar pregnancy, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and placenta previa.”
Organizers will have 180 days from the date the format of the petition is approved to submit 85,853 signatures required for ballot access.
“The Colorado Title Board is to be applauded for their discernment,” said Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D., Director of Personhood Colorado. “Constitutions guarantee many rights, generally with numerous effects, but each is a single principle of law. This amendment simply affirms the most basic of all human rights—the right to live—for all people including the youngest and most vulnerable members of our human family.”
On Monday, Personhood Arkansas submitted the Arkansas Personhood Amendment to the state’s Attorney General, and on Wednesday, Personhood Ohio submitted the required number of initial petition signatures with an amendment protecting the rights of all persons. Both include similar language clarifying the true effects of personhood.
ARVADA, Colo. — 12/21/2011 — Three Republican candidates for the nation’s high office including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich have confirmed their participation in the Presidential Pro-Life Forum on Tuesday, December 27, from 8:00 to 9:30 pm CST.
The national tele-town hall and radio simulcast will be hosted by Personhood USA and their partner organizations: National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, Liberty Counsel, Bott Radio Network, Freedom Federation, Frederick Douglass Foundation, Champion the Vote, Oak Initiative, The Call, Georgia Right to Life, Rock for Life, and Iowa Right to Life. An invitation has been extended to the remaining GOP presidential candidates.
The 90-minute pro-life tele-town hall will feature the candidates discussing their views on the rights of the preborn and other issues of great importance to pro-life voters. Pro-life groups around the nation are inviting their members to attend. Callers will have an opportunity to ask questions via email and give instant feedback to thoughts and ideas shared.
Nationally-syndicated radio host Steve Deace, whose influence in the Iowa Caucuses has been highlighted by numerous national media outlets, will broadcast the event live on his Salem Network program.
Last week, four candidates, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, and Gov. Rick Perry, signed Personhood USA’s Personhood Republican Candidate Pledge, declaring their intentions to stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death.”
“We’re pleased to see the candidates standing for the rights of every person to live, love, and be loved. The time has come to end the 40-year reign of the abortion industry, once and for all,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “This is an opportunity for everyone who understands that ‘all men are created equal’ to hear from the candidates their plans to recognize the most fundamental rights of every human being, no matter their age. Come, take advantage of this interactive and important event, and be a voice for the voiceless.”
For information please visit www.personhoodusa.com.