Personhood: It's About Human Rights

September 22, 2009 09:00 AM

American Life League recently helped organize an event in Florida with the leadership of the Personhood Florida organization. 

As is usually the case when personhood comes to the forefront, pro-abortion extremists immediately begin making wild claims about what the real goal of personhood is. For example, a headline in the Sun Sentinel reads, “Personhood Florida seeks to outlaw abortion, birth control.” 

And another headline from the Tampa Tribune reads, “Would proposed amendment make birth control illegal in Florida?”

WJXT-TV’s News 4 reported, “Abortion foes seek signatures for amendment: Constitutional amendment would also ban many forms of contraception.”

The common thread running through these headlines is the use of fear tactics. These are employed so that the average voter will be predisposed, prior to even reading the amendment language on the ballot, or the background behind it, to vote against it. So what’s a pro-life Floridian, or, for that matter, any pro-lifer in a state with personhood on the ballot, to say about this?

Well, let’s start with the facts. That’s always a good place to find information and the last place pro-abortion, culture-of-death radicals want anyone to go. 

It’s about rights. During a Reuters interview, American Life League Communications Director Katie Walker said exactly what each pro-personhood worker should say, “It [personhood] is a very simple concept that is fulfilling the civil rights movement.”

In other words, for close to 40 years, an entire segment of our population — those waiting to be born — have been discriminated against by the law and society. These human beings, who are, in fact, persons in every sense of the word, deserve the very same civil rights, human rights and equal rights as you and me. They are no less people, no less part of the human family and no less important than any single one of us. The only difference is that they are not yet born. That, and the law currently protects the act of murdering them.

Personhood will change that. Personhood will acknowledge that, just like you and me, each of them is a person. As the proposed Florida personhood amendment states:

SECTION 28. Person Defined. --
(a) The words “person” and “natural person” apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, health, function, condition of physical and/or mental dependency and/or disability, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.

This language does not mention abortion, nor does it mention contraception or birth control. What the language does affirm is what many Americans had taken for granted prior to the U. S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of January 22, 1973. It clarifies in law that a person is a person from his or her biological beginning.

It is a positive declaration of the individual. The language is a guarantee that human rights, civil rights and equal rights will apply to every person in any state where personhood becomes the law.

Now let’s get to the particulars. It is true that when a state affirms personhood, the state is admitting to the fact that the act of abortion robs a person of his rights and is, therefore, unacceptable. Regardless of how that individual’s life is taken — whether by chemical, medical or surgical means — the act of killing would be addressed by lawmakers subsequent to passage of the personhood amendment. Clearly, procured abortion would be, by definition, a crime.

Those who have been committed to protecting the act of abortion under the law will raise all the hard cases. They will cry that if personhood becomes the law, “even abortion in the case of rape, incest of the life of the mother” would be a crime. They are correct.

There is no legitimate reason, regardless of the circumstance, that can be given to condone an act of murder, an act that results in the death of an innocent person. Doctors know this is true, and that is why, from a medical ethics perspective, a doctor will always do everything he can to save the lives of both the mother and the preborn child, since both people are his patients. And even when that child’s biological father is the perpetrator of a violent act against the child’s mother, it is illogical to suggest that murdering the innocent third party is justified because of the crimes of that child’s father.

Many who condone abortion want the public to believe that my statement is heartless, cruel and disrespectful to women. But how could that possibly be the case? At least half of those who die by the act of abortion are girl babies who will, if allowed to live, grow into womanhood themselves. They are females who should have the same rights and the same respect as those already born.

Catherine Dolinski, who wrote the article for the Tampa Tribune, reported

That [personhood as law], opponents say, would make it a crime not just to kill a fetus by abortion, but also to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's uterus as birth control pills can.… As described by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), birth control pills and intrauterine devices work partly by causing the lining of the uterus to thin, "making it less likely that a fertilized egg can attach to it."

Dolinski tries hard to depersonalize the baby by never using the word “baby.” However, it is a biological fact that the “fertilized egg,” accurately described as the single-cell human embryo or single-cell human being, is a human being, an individual whose human rights are just as worthy of protection as any other human being. The point is that he or she exists. What else can we say?

Further, whether that person came into being through sexual or asexual means is irrelevant. In either case, we are addressing the rights of a person who deserves to be protected by law. For those who may not have encountered the term “asexual means” before, I want to make it very clear that these human beings are no different than any other class of persons.  

A human being can come into existence these days by asexual means. As Dr. Dianne Irving has written,

[E]xtensive human cloning, and other forms of human genetic engineering -- all of which can asexually reproduce new living single-cell human organisms (human beings) -- are already being done in IVF clinics, for both "research" and for "reproductive" purposes. One of the most common IVF techniques is called “twinning” – and twinning is one of many different kinds of cloning techniques. The procedure mimics the kind of identical twinning that takes place naturally inside the fallopian tube of a women, resulting in the asexual reproduction of an identical twin, triplet, etc. 

By the way, it is quite obvious that ACOG has worked hard to legitimize the chemical killing of week-old human beings, because so many of its members are part of the culture of death.  

We have to be honest and set forth the facts, while at the same time exposing the jaundiced views of those who have altered truth for the benefit of their income, their ideology and/or their perverse attitudes toward human beings and their value.

Sooner or later, each and every American will have to answer a simple question: Are there human beings who are less important and therefore disposable?

If the answer to that question is “yes,” then the follow up to it is this: Why would you condone the direct killing of someone based on his size or condition of dependency?

Is it because it is more convenient for you to use a method of birth control that can kill somebody than it is for you to admit the truth and change your lifestyle?

Is it because you have so little regard for the gift of life that your personal opinions are all that matter? 

As we know, millions of Americans have already given the wrong answer, which is why we have murdered millions in this nation and described those acts as nothing more or less than personal choices. The “freedom of choice” has obliterated the ability of many to understand the ramifications of always placing one’s self first, even if it means that someone else must die.

As Florida pro-life leader Pat McEwen of Life Coalition International pointed out, "People who care about the life of babies are going to go out and gather signatures.… We will not give up. We are persistent."

Indeed, we must begin — in every state, not just Florida — to spread the word, open minds, touch hearts and reach out on behalf of those who currently go silently to their death every day because the world waxes cold to truth. 

That doesn’t change the facts; it never will and so we must persist. 

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