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'Personhood' movement explodes in 32 states

Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 10/31/2009 @ 11:35 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled

A pro-life movement seeking to guarantee basic human rights to unborn babies is exploding in 32 states – and leaders say it could be just the key to nullifying abortion provisions in President Obama’s health-care “reform.”

While abortion was not specifically mentioned in earlier bills under
consideration, H.R.3962, unveiled by Nancy Pelosi this week, does in fact state abortion is to be covered. Concerns are mounting that whatever the final form of the legislation, the procedure will become more
accessible, requiring health insurance companies to fund abortions.

Gualberto Garcia Jones is director of Personhood Colorado and a legal analyst for Personhood USA, a grass-roots Christian organization that seeks to legally define every unborn baby as a “person” protected by God-given and constitutionally protected rights, including the right to life. His organization was set up to support personhood efforts across America through legislation and constitutional amendments.

“We’re trying to end abortion right now,” Garcia Jones told WND. “All of our laws that we’re promoting are direct challenges to Roe v. Wade. If we can get a challenge up to the Supreme Court, then that’s the ideal thing. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The personhood approach within the pro-life movement was sparked by a statement in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that opened the doors for legal abortion in the U.S.

Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, “The appellee and certain amici [pro-lifers] argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

According to the movement, if every unborn baby is defined as a person, each baby will be legally guaranteed the same right to life as all Americans.

“We believe – and a lot of the justices on the Supreme Court agree with us – that there is no right to privacy that would allow abortion,” Garcia Jones said. “Since it’s not mentioned directly in the 14th Amendment, we could use the 10th Amendment and the states’ rights to police themselves and to pass laws regulating morality and health and safety to regulate abortion so it’s not permitted. Basically it would be treated the same way as a homicide, where a state can regulate how they punish it and how they try to prevent it, but they could never allow it.”

He continued, “We believe respect for life is in the Constitution, so therefore a state could never say you can kill a person.”

Garcia Jones said the personhood movement is a timely approach considering the widespread success of the tea party movement, the states’ rights movement and voter frustration with what they consider overreaching policies by the federal government.

He said citizens in 32 states are now acting to find sponsors for personhood statutes or constitutional amendments to include them on 2010 ballots.

“It’s taken off so much that we’re having trouble keeping up with it,” he said. “Colorado, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi and California are all in the process of getting signatures.”

The Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 28 that while personhood measures failed in Montana and North Dakota legislatures earlier this year, “the close votes alarmed supporters of legal abortion.”

According to WND columnist Jill Stanek, pro-life legislators in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas have also signaled their intent to introduce personhood statutes.

Personhood USA co-founder Keith Mason told WND the personhood movement is one of the only things that could combat abortion in health-care reform legislation.

“The 24-hour waiting periods and parental consent laws fall short,” he said. “Obama’s making a lot of people mad, and it’s a great way for us to ride this wave of social tension and backlash against Obama so we can get as much done for the pre-born child as we can. What’s coming down the pike next is an abolition against all restrictions on abortion. This is a real fight.”

Mason said the grass-roots personhood movement is “exploding.” As WND reported, a project inspired by a Zogby/O’Leary poll revealed 71 percent of Americans oppose allowing taxpayer-funded abortions in health-care reform legislation.

“Most of these efforts start with one or two people and grow into something bigger,” he said. “As we press forward, I think this is going to grow, and we’re seeing that happen.”

The Personhood USA website lists states involved in the personhood movement and allows citizens to register with groups in their respective states.


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