Blackmun: If this is established, abortion 'rights' would, of
At the annual March for Life Jan. 22, pro-life groups will use the
anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to raise the
profile of "personhood."
The term is used by a movement in state legislatures to define unborn
babies as persons, affording them the same guaranteed right to life as
all other Americans.
Probably the first definitive statement on the idea came from Justice
Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, when he
"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."
"The is the first real movement in 37 years since Roe that has got the
abortion lobby on its back foot," Shaun Kenney, executive director for
the American Life League, told WND today.
His organization's Training and Activism Week is among many events
already assembled by pro-life organizations to promote life for the
"Folks are going out and putting referenda, or bills in state
legislatures, that an [unborn baby] is, in fact, a human being," he
said. "Currently Roe v. Wade set the bar [for being human] at the
moment of birth."
He cited as an accomplishment Personhood USA's nomination by one of the
nation's leading abortion industry advocates to its 2009 "Hall of
Shame," for those who pose the greatest threat to abortion.
"We at Personhood USA are honored to be considered one of the top four
threats to abortion in America," Keith Mason, co-founder of the
organization, said after the National Abortion Rights Action League
made the selection.
"Preborn babies are human beings with a God-given right to live. NARAL
is a greedy, bloodthirsty organization, but they have pegged us
correctly – Personhood USA is working to outlaw abortion, recognizing
the Personhood rights of every child in America," Mason said.
He said NARAL described Personhood USA as: "The group behind the
anti-choice 'personhood' measures, Personhood USA, exists solely to
establish legal rights for fertilized eggs and trigger legal battles
over abortion that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only
could the strategy outlaw abortion, but it could even threaten birth
control, stem-cell research, and in-vitro fertilization. Working to
outlaw abortion makes Personhood USA a strong candidate for Hall of
Shame of the year."
The group, a grassroots Christian coalition, was founded to establish
personhood efforts across the nation.
WND reported earlier that the movement already has reached into 32
states, where citizens are working now to find sponsors for statutes or
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.
Kenney told WND, "This is a movement that's catching fire very quickly."
And it's the simplest strategy he's seen for ending abortion in America.
"The personhood amendment says there is a right to exist," he said.
"There's very little else to be said."
The problem with the current definition promoted by abortion interests,
that life begins at birth, is that it's a slippery slope, he said. He
cited the issues of women's suffrage, slavery and even the eugenics
laws of the early 1900s with which the U.S. has dealt.
"America's always been on the side of civil rights and justice," he
said. "This has occurred for African-Americans, women, the
underprivileged, those with mental disabilities. We're confident this
will occur [again]."
He said his organization is focusing on education on the issue. But he
also noted supporters are setting a goal of having more than 35 states
either with referenda or legislative proposals for the concept of
"The status quo certainly isn't working for the 51 million babies who
have been aborted in the United States," he said.
The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly.Click here to learn more about the IFRL.