Go Ahead. Call Me Extreme.

April 7, 2011 09:00 AM

By Johanna Dasteel

Representative Schumer revealed that the Democratic caucus plans to label the opposition and its Tea Party ideas as extreme. I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of that political denigration. 

My advocacy for human personhood amendments is oft times labeled extreme for this day and age—even by pro-lifers. Such amendments are simple enough: they reconcile an observable reality with the language of our laws. Namely, that a human being is a person, and our laws are written to protect persons. 

Though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Perhaps the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. 

Let me repeat that: Perhaps our nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I can’t claim to be clairvoyant, but I think it’s safe to assume that you may not agree with me. Would it matter if I told you that those words are not original to me?

You see, those words are not mine, but are the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. 

Dr. King, too, was called an extremist and he responded, again, I quote: “But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label.” He said, “Perhaps … the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Dr. King wasn’t coming up with a new idea. Rather he was going back to our country’s origins, to the idea enumerated in our Declaration of Independence that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. 

Pro-lifers are accustomed to being called extreme. But what is liberty and the pursuit of happiness without the right to life? Protecting all members of our human species as persons is just going back to common sense. What Dr. King might call creative extremism.

The Schumers, Pelosis, and Reids of the world love to hype straw man doomsday scenarios in which recognizing the rights of preborn people will lead to the penalizing and jailing of pregnant mothers for mundane or everyday behavior such as eating junk food or playing sports. 

They even go so far as to argue that the government would start harassing mourning mothers after they have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage. Now the hypocrisy in that alone should confound you. What is there to mourn and why would it be so distasteful to question the mother if we cannot admit that she is a mother in the first place? 

In Colorado, where I’m from, before the decriminalization of abortion, the state had a long history of being a pro-life state and NOT ONCE was any mother prosecuted or investigated after a miscarriage.

A personhood amendment solely states that no member of our species shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. 

The hurlers of the extremist invective shout that birth control, IVF and human embryonic stem cell research is threatened by protecting a preborn human being’s right to life. But unless these are life-threatening instead of life-saving practices, is there reason to claim that constitutionally recognizing human beings as persons threatens them?  More straw men blown over by logic.

They will never risk admitting that all human beings should not be recognized as equal persons; to do so would betray the lies on which they base their own advocacy. They will instead trot out the tired and disproven claims of decades ago that acknowledging that preborn babies are people will force mothers to the back alleys where they will die along with their children.

Julie Kay, International Planned Parenthood Federation attorney and acolyte of the “admitting babies are people is extreme” theory, described the country of Ireland as “the jewel in the crown of the pro-life movement.” 

She said this because Ireland is a pro-life nation that protects the rights of the preborn child as equal to that of his or her mother. Ireland treats abortion as a criminal action. 

If we are to believe what Planned Parenthood and its Democratic caucus claim—that treating preborn children as equal citizens will criminalize women’s behaviors when they are pregnant, that there will be more back-alley abortions, that women will be defending themselves in frivolous lawsuits and some even will die, we would also have to believe that it is—right now—doomsday in Ireland. 

You would think that.

But you would be wrong.

Ireland has no back-alley abortions. Ireland is abortion-free.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, reports Ireland to have the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world. Let me put that another way: women not dying from abortion being illegal in Ireland!

Our nation careens toward bankruptcy, but Pelosi and Schumer strategize to label even trivial cost cutting to a multitrillion debt as extreme. President Obama excuses abortion by saying that knowing when life begins is above his pay grade. Harry Reid declares he would shut down the government before defunding Planned Parenthood. 

The only thing that stands in our way of restoring the rights of the preborn and eliminating abortion is fear—fear that is unfounded. Ireland is a testament to that fact. 

We don’t need to be the victims of Pelosi, Schumer, Reid, or Planned Parenthood’s extreme propaganda. 

Go ahead. Call me extreme. Coming from you, I will wear it as a badge of honor.

Johanna Dasteel is ALL’s Senior Congressional Liaison and directs the organization’s Personhood Project, an educational and advocacy effort to define the term person in state and federal constitutions to include every human being. For the past three years she has headed up ALL’s presence on Capitol Hill and has educated members of Congress on how to advance the rights and personhood of the preborn and the need to defund Planned Parenthood. She also manages ALL’s efforts with state personhood initiatives, personhood educational efforts, and state and federal legislative analysis.  

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