I have just been in Colorado speaking for the Colorado for Equal Rights
campaign for personhood. The wonderfully committed people involved with this effort need to collect at least 76,000 signatures by the first week of May. But in order to be certain that enough legitimate signatures are OKed by the state, their goal is 110,000. Though they have a way to go, their enthusiasm is high, their attitude is positive and the funds are slowly rolling in. It was a privilege to be with them and to help them and those who attended the events see the value of a drive toward personhood.
Among the leadership in the pro-life movement, Father Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International and I have endorsed the campaign, and we have been proud to do so.
Now compare this with the effort in South Dakota, Vote Yes for Life
. This effort is focused on placing a ballot initiative before the people of South Dakota this November. The proposed law contains language that will permit abortion in cases of life of the mother, health of the mother, rape and incest. You can read the language of this initiative at http://www.voteyesforlife.com/docs/Petition.pdf
We are told by proponents of the measure that the requirements attached to these exceptions are so stringent that the abuse of the permission to abort will be practically non existent—of course that will be for a court to decide.
Those pro-life leaders who have endorsed this measure include John Willke, M.D. of Life Issues Institute, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, David Bereit of 40 Days for Life and many others whose names and partial statements are also on the web site. One of the endorsers, Father Frank Pavone, wrote a statement in which he said:
The citizens of South Dakota have an amazingly simple and direct way to take the next good step in that direction. Right now, no unborn children in America are protected from abortion. To have most of them protected is a goal we are both permitted and required to work for. I urge churches in particular to put the full weight of their influence behind the VoteYesForLife.com campaign.
Please note that Father Frank does make the point that not all preborn babies will be protected, but most of them will be—at least that is the argument.
On the other hand, the Colorado proposal, which would indeed save all preborn children from the moment of creation and contains not a single exception has not been endorsed by any of these people. So I find myself asking, "What is wrong with this picture?"
Do we want to support initiatives at the state level that will provide a direct challenge to the Supreme Court and lower courts on the question of personhood, or do we want to represent these babies by working very hard to protect "most" of them and leave so many behind?
Recall what Justice Harry Blackmun told us
in Roe v. Wade
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.
Further, Blackmun pointed out the contradiction in the Texas law
that provided the Supreme Court with the opportunity to create Roe v. Wade
, thus striking down all state laws that dealt with abortion. "If the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law," he asked rhetorically, "and if the mother's condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment's command?"
In other words, if you mean to end abortion, you cannot provide an exception that enables an abortion to be performed.
Again looking at the South Dakota initiative, I am left asking you, "What’s wrong with this picture?"