Personhood

Planned Parenthood Exec: Women Should Decide When Life Begins

trash“All women need to have the right to decide for themselves when life begins.”

There you have it—Planned Parenthood’s philosophy of human life according to Vicki Cowart, President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. When human life begins is not an objective, scientific fact to Cowart and her ilk—it’s an opinion, a fuzzy feeling, that is completely arbitrary and subjective.

According to this logic (if you can even call it that), life may begin at conception for some women. For others, it may begin when the heart first beats, or when the baby can feel pain. For still others, it may be the moment the baby is born. It really doesn’t matter. Until then, it’s just a “fetus,” a disposable sub-human.

The glaring, painfully obvious problem with this fanciful theory is that it has no clear end point. If a baby is born, and the mother has decided that her child’s life has not yet begun, why not kill him after he is born? Maybe a mother thinks that her two year old’s life hasn’t begun yet. Should she be able to kill her? After all, she can’t survive on her own—she has to feed her, clothe her, and support her in every way.

This is is the logic of abortion and of the Culture of Death it so successfully breeds—a completely, wholesale destruction of human life at any time, for any reason. Afterall, the value of the person is subjective to those who believe abortion is a right. Whenever someone becomes too inconvenient, or too much of a burden on society, declare them less than human and wipe them out.

Completely consistent with this rationale: If you are suffering, and your life is too much of a burden to yourself, just throw it away. Your life has no value, no meaning aside from subjective feelings of pleasure and happiness. That’s why assisted suicide is on the rise, with Belgium recently legalizing it for children. Death, death, death. Death for everyone, death for all. This is the new “compassion,” the new “care.”

President Obama himself took the logic of abortion to its conclusion, advocating for infanticide by opposing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act as a state senator in Illinois. For all his support of evil, detestable practices, at least he is consistent. It is the “safe, legal and rare” folks who make no sense. Either abortion is completely wrong, and should be abolished forever, or it is a great good that should be celebrated, encouraged, and carried to its logical conclusion—even if that means killing perfectly healthy babies after they are born, or anyone else for that matter.

But Vicki Cowart didn’t end her statement with her diabolical definition of when life begins. She said, “All women need to have the right to decide for themselves when life begins. Personhood would take that right away.”

Exactly right, Vicki. You see, Personhood is the radical idea that the value of human life is not subjective, that we can’t make up when it begins according to our taste. It is the idea that every human life has value from the moment it begins to exist to the moment it naturally ends. It is the idea that each human person is made in the image of God, and has intrinsic worth.

Right now in America, the culture of death prevails. We do not, as a nation, recognize the immutable worth of the human being, and because of this, it is currently legal for women to take their preborn child, a living human being, to a facility where he or she can be violently killed. But Ms. Cowart is right, “Personhood would take that right away.” And that’s why we stand for Personhood.

Update: Planned Parenthood USA President Cecile Richards was caught saying something very similar recently, claiming that when live begins is irrelevant in the abortion debate. Watch her comments here.

Why Personhood – Part 2: Personhood Matters!

In my previous post, I defined personhood as the legal recognition of all human being as worthy of full protection under the law. This was the chief issue in the tragic Roe v. Wade decision. The Supreme Court decided not to recognize the unborn as persons, and the slaughter of abortion was legalized.

But is this the first time the denial of personhood has resulted in tragic consequences? Hardly.

Throughout the history of our country, lawyers and judges with an agenda have tried to bring into question exactly who qualifies as a legally protected person. After all, if you can deny a group of human beings personhood, you can treat them however you want. You can oppress them, kill them, or keep them as slaves.

Pro-Life Wisconsin's personhood banner.

Pro-Life Wisconsin’s personhood billboard.

One prominent example of this is the Dredd Scott case. In this decision, the Supreme Court said that African slaves and all blacks simply were not people. It was perfectly fine, therefore, to keep them as property, on par with a cow or horse. Here’s a quote from the Supreme Court’s decision:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among them is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ”

The general words above quoted would seem to embrace the whole human family, and if they were used in a similar instrument at this day would be so understood. But it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration

The majority decision goes on to cite numerous cases of slaves being treated as less than persons, all to bolster the idea that blacks weren’t fully human and didn’t have the rights spelled out in the Constitution.

Obviously, great evil resulted from this decision. Not only did slavery continue to be legal, citizen turned against citizen in the bloody Civil War that cost thousands of American lives.

Personhood matters. Any time a tyrant or nation wants to kill or enslave others, the first step is always to deny that they are persons and classify them as somehow sub-human. It has happened over and over through history. And it is happening right now in our country with the unborn.

The tragedy of abortion will only end when unborn children are acknowledged to possess the full dignity and rights of every other human being. Until this happens, abortion—and other violations of basic human rights—will continue to be legal.

But believe it or not, some pro-lifers aren’t for legal personhood for the unborn. In our next post, we’ll answer some common objections that are raised about personhood.

For a powerful summary of the importance of personhood, check out our video below.

Why Personhood?

unborn-baby“A person is a person, no matter how small.” -Dr. Seuss

One of Pro-Life Wisconsin’s most important initiatives is to achieve legal personhood for the unborn in the Wisconsin state constitution.  We believe this step is critical to ending abortion once and for all. But unfortunately, there are misunderstandings about what personhood really is, and many doubt whether it is an effective strategy for ending abortion.

To help pro-lifers better understand personhood, and why it is so critical, I will be writing a two part series that will attempt to answer some of the misunderstandings, as well as explain why personhood is so important. Here is what we will be discussing.

  1. What is personhood for the unborn? In this post, we’ll explore personhood as a legal concept, one that is essential to recognizing the worth and dignity of every human person, regardless of development. Read the post here.
  2. Why does personhood matter? We’ll explore how personhood relates to abortion, as well as how denial of personhood always leads to oppression and loss of life. Read the post here.

Stay tuned!

Wisconsin Legislative Council debunks Wisconsin Right to Life’s main argument against personhood amendment

The Wisconsin Legislative Council (WLC), a non-partisan service agency that provides legal services to the Wisconsin Legislature, drafted a memo for State Representative Andre Jacque addressing the implications of the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment (Assembly Joint Resolution [AJR] 77) on Wisconsin’s pre-Roe v. Wade criminal abortion ban (Wis. Stats. 940.04). Representative Jacque, author of the personhood amendment, released the WLC memo to his fellow legislators this morning along with his own memo summarizing their conclusions.

Wisconsin Right to Life’s central argument against introduction and passage of a personhood constitutional amendment is that it would overturn by “implied repeal” Wisconsin’s pre-Roe criminal abortion statute. The WLC concludes the opposite.

Citing United States and Wisconsin Supreme Court case law, the WLC memo states that it is unlikely that 940.04 would be vacated in its entirety by implied repeal. If anything were to be impliedly repealed (and that’s a big if), it would be only those sections of 940.04 that may conflict with the equality provision in the amendment – for example, the life-of-the-mother exception and the differing penalties for killing a quick versus non-quick child. And removing these inequitable sections would only strengthen 940.04!

Rep. Jacque states in his memo that, “I therefore agree with the WLC when it states in its memo that ‘the statute appears to complement rather than conflict with the proposed constitutional amendment, insofar as the amendment expands the inherent right to life recognized in the Wisconsin Constitution to unborn persons and the statute provides a basis for criminal liability for harm to such persons.’”

Given the WLC’s conclusion, Pro-Life Wisconsin hopes that Wisconsin Right to Life will promptly remove its opposition to the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment. It is clear that AJR 77 would not harm Wisconsin Statutes 940.04 by “implied repeal” or otherwise. Accordingly, concerns over 940.04 should not stand in the way of supporting PLW’s personhood amendment.

Please click here to view AJR 77, and please go to PersonhoodWisconsin.com for more information on the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment campaign.

2011 “unprecedented” in attacks against Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

Teri Huyck, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, sent an end-of-year email on behalf of PPWI. Letter, here.

As we begin this New Year with high hopes for good health and a change of priorities, I would like to take a minute to reflect on the last year and the unprecedented attack on women’s health care access which has been unlike anything I have ever seen in my lifetime.

We are in the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression and while Wisconsin citizens are doing their best to weather decreased wages, lost jobs and health insurance fee hikes and coverage reductions, state legislative leadership has instead, been focused on advancing their personal social agendas. This year alone, eight legislative proposals seeking to limit access to essential health care services and information have been introduced in the Wisconsin State Legislature. The Legislature premiered their agenda on women’s health by eliminating $1 million dollars in state funds directed to the essential preventative care of women seen at Planned Parenthood.

Huyck goes on to list bills that are Pro-Life Wisconsin’s legislative agenda — personhood, repeal of the sex ed bill, cutting taxpayer funding to PPWI, and so on.

Surely Huyck didn’t like having her $248,819 annual salary made public.

Wisconsin personhood amendment draws fire, splits state pro-life groups

From the Dec. 4 edition of the Oshkosh Northwestern; carried in Gannett-owned newspapers across the state:
State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt says he isn’t alone in his belief that unborn children are deserving of legal protections [thank God...!].

The Fond du Lac Republican is among a group of lawmakers in Madison endeavoring to introduce legislation that would amend the state constitution to extend personhood protections to the moment of conception.

“We look at the role of government as being an institution that protects those who cannot protect themselves and you would be hard pressed to come up with a better definition of someone who can’t protect themselves than an unborn child,” Thiesfeldt said.

Pro-choice advocates argue that such a measure would outlaw all abortions and prohibit many forms of birth control [WHEN will one of these reporters ask WHY?].

The proposal has also split the state’s two largest pro-life groups as to whether or not such an amendment is the best way to protect unborn children [sad but true].

Glaring error

Although there are some protections granted to an unborn child under the state’s fetal homicide bill, the current wording of the state’s constitution only grants the inherent rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to those who are born.

“On one hand, we can look at a child as a human being, and on the other hand, it’s looked at as a mass of tissue. That’s completely hypocritical to me,” Thiesfeldt said. “The wording of this amendment would extend those rights to include those who are preborn.”

Matt Sande, lobbyist for Pro-Life Wisconsin, said the wording of the constitution is a glaring error, albeit not an intentional one.

“Obviously, our founders were not contemplating the legal slaughter of children 150 years ago,” Sande said. “In the event Roe vs. Wade is overturned and the decision would be remanded back to the states, Wisconsin needs a true definition of human life in its constitution. This amendment would also close the ‘life of the mother’ statutory loophole in our dormant state anti-abortion law that allows abortion on demand.”

At odds

While Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right to Life both operate under the mission of saving unborn babies, the organizations are at odds as to whether or not the measure is the best way to protect the preborn.

Sue Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life says the proposed amendment — like many personhood movements sweeping across the nation — would present problems for future Right to Life movements [40 years of legalized abortion and a death toll of 53.5+ million isn't enough?] and most likely would be struck down in a court challenge.

“The real solution is that we would have a president who is going to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade. That’s what we have to concentrate on; (the proposed amendment) isn’t the right approach.”

Sande disagrees.

“Unlike Wisconsin Right to Life, we’re not willing to sit on our hands and wait for the stars to align on the Supreme Court,” Sande said. “It’s a bold effort that will take time and effort. But you have to start somewhere.”

Read the entire article here.

Wisconsin personhood measure officially introduced yesterday

Assembly Joint Resolution 77, introduced on Thursday, amends the state constitution to strike the word “born” from the line of the constitution declaring that “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The measure also adds the line, “As applied to the right to life, the terms ‘people’ and ‘person’ shall apply to every human being at any stage of development.”

The measure is introduced by Representatives JACQUE,  LEMAHIEU, PRIDEMORE, CRAIG, THIESFELDT, WYNN and T. LARSON, cosponsored by Senator GROTHMAN.

A big pro-life thanks to all those who signed on to the bill.

Mother Jones — the pro-abortion, social activist site — has a write-up about Wisconsin’s personhood effort and compiles Rep. Jacque’s pro-life accomplishments into a handy list. The Cap Times editorial board also weighed in on the issue with a statement.

Albert Mohler takes a thought-provoking look at personhood, Mississippi and Harry Blackmun. Definitely worth a read.

Pray for Mississippi’s personhood amendment!

The people of Mississippi will go to the polls tomorrow to vote on Amendment 26, an amendment to the Mississippi Constitution that will recognize every human being, from conception, as a legal person. The proposed one-sentence state constitutional amendment, Initiative Measure Number 26, reads, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” Click here for more information on the Yes on 26 campaign.

Personhood USA reported on Thursday night that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour voted “Yes” on Amendment 26 by absentee ballot. The Governor made the announcement at a rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Yes on 26 campaign Co-chair, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant. “I think all in all, I know I believe life begins at conception. So I think the right thing to do was to vote for it,” said Barbour.

Pro-Life Wisconsin is excited about this courageous effort, and we pray for pro-life Mississippians as they vote for life tomorrow.

Click here for a recent op-ed in support of personhood written by Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

Support the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment

This past Wednesday, October 19, State Representative Andre Jacque (R-Green Bay) began circulating for co-sponsorship the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment, legislation that would amend the Wisconsin Constitution to apply personhood rights to preborn children at all stages of development. Click here to read the amendment language, and click here to view PLW’s legislative memo.

From a pro-life perspective, the Wisconsin Constitution contains a glaring error at its outset. In specifying the beneficiaries of its human rights, our state constitution leaves out the preborn. It applies rights to only those people who are “born.”

Representative Jacque is proposing a minimal but absolutely essential correction, a personhood amendment, to make the Wisconsin Constitution cover all people, every person, at any stage of development. The amendment seeks to extend the inalienable right to life found in the Wisconsin Constitution to all preborn children from the beginning of their lives.

Should Roe v. Wade be overturned someday and the abortion issue remanded to the states, an activist Wisconsin Supreme Court could use the word “born” in our current state constitution to deny the right to life of the preborn by interpreting an independent right to abortion in that document. In so doing, the court could nullify any present or future pro-life laws in our state. The changing makeup of the Wisconsin Legislature could also jeopardize any pro-life laws in our state. Every two years our state election process determines the majority party in Madison. Legal protection of the preborn should not (and must not) be contingent upon which party controls the state legislature. The right to life should not be subject to the whims of a politicized supreme court or an ever-changing legislature.

The introduction of the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment is a watershed moment in the history of the pro-life movement in our state. It seeks to end abortion in Wisconsin, not to regulate or restrict it. We have been working toward the introduction of such an amendment for the last five years, and we thank Representative Jacque for demonstrating the courage of his convictions in finally making it a reality.

The personhood amendment will face stiff opposition from the pro-abortion industry.  Shockingly, the strongest opposition to the bill at this point is coming from Wisconsin Right to Life (WRL). In February WRL published a position paper vowing to oppose any effort to grant Wisconsin’s pre-born babies full constitutional rights as persons, labeling such efforts a “threat to [the] protection of Wisconsin unborn children.” They worked hard to ensure a personhood amendment was never introduced. Having failed in that effort, they are now calling every state legislator demanding that they not sign on to the bill. WRL admits that their legal reasoning for opposing a state personhood amendment is speculative. WRL offers no case law to back up their asserted problems, admitting that they are only “probable”. Pro-Life Wisconsin, on the other hand, offers recent Wisconsin case law clearly demonstrating that the proposed amendment is not a risk to our current, pre-Roe abortion law (Section 940.04, Wisconsin Statutes) by “implied repeal” or otherwise. Click here for PLW’s legal analysis rebutting their misguided objections.

The pro-life movement is founded on the bedrock principle that all human beings, at all stages of their development, deserve full protection under the law. Why oppose proactive people of good will endeavoring to provide full and lasting legal protection for preborn children? Pro-Life Wisconsin remains committed to constitutionally protecting Wisconsin’s preborn children, regardless of opposition from the abortion industry or from within the right to life movement.

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