Category Archives: personhood
A response to the February 8 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Politifact article; by Dan Becker, President Georgia Right to Life
Your February 8th Politifact-Georgia article: “Abortion foe overreaches in describing context of court ruling” suggested I misread a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling.
The ruling upheld—and even expanded—a lower court decision that applied the state’s chemical endangerment statute to pre-born children.
The lower court only said the endangerment statue applies to viable pre-born children. The Supreme Court expanded the meaning to pre-born children at all stages of development.
The court’s decision did advance the cause of protecting innocent life by in effect applying personhood status to a new area of Alabama law.
Your article incorrectly pointed to a South Carolina ruling as proof that the decision was not unique. That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison since the South Carolina ruling only applied to a viable fetus, not pre-viable as the Alabama ruling does. This latest ruling extended personhood status for the first time to all pre-born children in a different area of Alabama law without juridical restrictions on viability.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Tom Parker said Roe v. Wade—aside from authorizing the right to abortion—was not relevant in deciding the case.
“Subsequently, Roe has sometimes been misread as holding that those unborn children are not persons and do not have the same fundamental rights as does every other person, which rights are protected by law. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
This encouraging decision reflects a broader nationwide trend aimed at establishing personhood status to all children from the moment of conception.
A few recent examples include:
- Last August, 66 percent of Georgia Republican voters approved a non-binding primary ballot question calling on the state to place human rights amendment before all voters.
- This month, the North Dakota House of Representatives and the Montana Senate approved bills that grant legal protection to children at all stages of development.
These, and developments in other states, prove that the tide is indeed turning as more and more people recognize that it’s time to end the culture of death that has plagued our nation for 40 years. That shadow has resulted in the death of more than 55 million innocent children.
That’s why our opponents are so worried; they know Georgia, and many other states, are rejecting the idea that some lives are more valuable than others.
Prenatal (before birth) testing today results in the early diagnosis of more and more abnormalities from the extremely simple to the very complex. Sadly, physicians may suggest terminating a pregnancy with only a possible risk of abnormality, probably due to fear of malpractice law suits.
Half of the children targeted for destruction are not even affected by the feared abnormality. More normal children are killed than handicapped children.
As a society, we must remember that a child’s right to life is given by their Creator, not their parents or even the state. Being handicapped is not a capital crime and should never carry a death sentence. In any or all circumstances, we want to protect and support both mother and child.
Studies show that women who choose abortion for genetic reasons have significant grief reactions, a high rate of depression, and flashbacks. Negative reactions are also seen in the siblings even when they had no direct knowledge of the event.
Approximately 20% of U.S. adults have some sort of disability according to the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC. Many, many of these individuals accomplish amazing things in spite of great challenges. Let’s ‘meet’ just a few of them:
Robert Michael Hensel was born in 1969, with a birth defect known as Spina-bifida. His disability would limit him to a wheelchair, but he continues to find ways to positively impact people. Hensel is an award-winning poet and has recently been recognized by the Museum of Disability History in Buffalo, New York.
Hensel is a Guinness World Records holder for the longest non-stop “wheelie” in a wheelchair. His efforts have raised money for wheelchair ramps throughout his hometown of Oswego, New York. Hensel continues to raise awareness of the many talents and accomplishments made by disabled individuals. Says Hensel:
“Know me for my abilities, not my disability.”
“I don’t have dis-ability, I have a different-ability.”
“When everyone else says you can’t, determination says, YES YOU CAN.”
“No disability or dictionary out there is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person. It’s only when we step out of that labeled box, that our abilities begin to be fully recognized, giving us a better definition of who we truly are as individuals.”
Nick Vujicic is the Founder, President and CEO of Life Without Limbs, a non-profit organization whose mission is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ through his own life. Born without arms and legs, Nick has shared his message with over 5 million people in 44 different countries. “Life without limbs, or life without limits?” Nick is known to say.
Nick’s story, outlined in Biography of a Determined Man of Faith, tells of his childhood in Australia, his turning points and his growing passion to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Nick says, “God does not make mistakes, but He does miracles. I am one. You are too.”
Here in Georgia, Phillip Richardson is President of the Cherokee County Chapter of Georgia Right to Life. He is also a faithful member of Christ the Redeemer Charismatic Episcopal Church in Canton, Georgia.
Born with Spina-bifida, Phillip would face the additional challenges of poverty, physical abuse and homelessness. “Life is hard,” Phillip says, “but life is worth it.”
Phillip credits his mother with choosing life even under very difficult circumstances. His hardships, he says, “…… have not swayed my resolve to be a proactive, compassionate man that is so thankful to have the life that God has given me. How can we logically deny someone’s existence before they even have a chance to overcome and be the success story that so many of us are in awe of?”
Indeed. We will all face challenging times in our lives. How can we exclude any one group of people – the disabled pre-born – simply because of any presumed problems? Who knows what wonders they might accomplish when given the chance?
by Suzanne L. Ward
St. Paul said it best. “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” Ephesians 6:12
Even though we “wrestled with the principalities,” Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) has had a banner year. We are one of the most respected pro-life organizations in the nation. This is due to three things: the faithfulness of God, the faithfulness of GRTL staff, and the faithfulness of you, our donors.
We like to think that the best is yet to come as we end this year and head into 2013. We are filled with a profound gladness for blessings already received and with profound rejoicing for blessings that will be coming.
Your gifts determined our projects in 2012 and what you give now will help determine our projects going forward into the New Year.
Here is what you have accomplished in 2012:
- We worked toward the passage of a Personhood-compliant Fetal Pain Law. Georgia had the second highest number of late term abortions in the nation; being a destination state for these abortions. As of January 1st, 2013 this is FINISHED. There will be babies saved because of this law. Praise God!. UPDATE: The ACLU has file an injunction – the law Is in danger of not going into effect on 1/1/13!
- During the primary election, 66% of the Republicans in the State voted for putting a Personhood Amendment in the Constitution. Yes, it was non-binding; however, we sent a message to our legislators that Georgia is pro-life and they should be, too.
- People have joined the movement because of our web presence. A woman in the Panhandle of Florida drove 7 hours to Orlando to become a part of Personhood there. Why? She saw our Memorial Wall, named her aborted child, and was directed to Orlando from our website.
- The states of Alaska and Iowa want to copy our “program” in its entirety. They want the complete package from our by-laws to our Personhood displays and training to our Life and Liberty Tracker.
- We are still reaching at-risk women with our helpline, our billboards, and our Google keyword searches.
- We use email newsletters, social media, and speakers to reach people everywhere with our principled message of the Sanctity of Life and Personhood.
There is so much more. As we come toward the end of an exhausting but most successful year, there is hardly time to appreciate all that has been accomplished because we have so much more to do in 2013.
The ACLU has filed an injunction against the fetal pain bill to keep it from going into effect on January 1, 2013. We will keep you posted on the status of the bill.
We will pause on January 22nd of 2013, to mourn the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade on the Capitol steps. I don’t know why it has taken 40 years to abolish abortion on demand in this country. I hope that we are seeing the Joshua generation step up to end this wandering in the wilderness by the pro-life movement. We, at GRTL, believe that Personhood is the way out of the wilderness and we will continue to lead in that direction if we have the resources.
Please, I urge you to send your most generous sacrificial year-end gift so we can continue to promote Personhood and defend life at all stages. I can’t ask you for more than you can afford, but please send what you can. We need your help to continue our good work, together.
We thank you for your past generosity and your prayers and we thank you in advance for your gift today.
Together for Life,
Daniel C. Becker, President
I have been born. My mom and dad are ecstatic.
For those of you who have been following my development, thank you. I hope that you have also used these last nine months to pray for all the pre-born children whose lives are in danger from abortion.
I am so glad that my mommy and daddy chose Life for me. All babies deserve a birthday.
October 2: week 28
Whoa! I’ve had trouble with my balance but it is getting better. I’m going to be in my first Life Chain today. The cars might not notice me but my mom will. Not much room to wave in here, but my eyes are opening, so I guess I’ll just practice blinking at everyone. I weigh about 2 pounds. Mom’s talking about different names for me. Hey, mom, how about Chris?
October 9: week 29
I am about 14 inches tall now and growing really fast. I try to stretch out and mom can feel me move about. You could hear my heartbeat if you put your ear on my mommy’s tummy. If I were born now, I’d have an 85% chance of survival because my lungs have been getting stronger. Sometimes mom has a craving. I really like the ice cream; pickles, not so much.
October 16: week 30
I have doubled in size over the last 4 weeks and it is really getting cramped in here. I don’t have as much room to do my exercises. My muscle tone is better, though, and my body is filling out with baby fat. I have nice fine hair growing on my head. I can recognize my mom’s voice. I know that she is feeling a lot of aches and pains and discomfort, but she knows that she will be seeing me real soon.
October 23: week 31
I must be getting younger. The wrinkles that I had everywhere are slowly disappearing. I used to have a big head, but now that I’m gaining weight, my body is catching up. I can move my eyes, but it is still pretty dark in here. I can hear my mom. I can’t wait to see her.
October 30: week 32
I weigh three pounds now and will gain about a half pound each week until birth. It’s really cramped now, so I have assumed the “fetal” position. I can see, but I don’t have 20/20 vision. In fact, I won’t have 20/20 vision until I’m about 7 years old–hopefully. Mom is pretty uncomfortable right now. When she sleeps on her side, I really like snuggling into the mattress.
September 4th: Week 24
I have fine hair all over my body that is there to protect my skin. I will lose this before being born. I’m a little thin at this point but am putting on more baby fat. My eyes are formed, but my iris has no color. I think I want brown eyes. I weigh over a pound and am about a foot long. If I was born today, I’d have a fighting chance to survive. (about 50%)
September 11: Week 25
I’m really beginning to bulk up. I gained 6 ounces this week! I think most of it was muscle but also some bone mass and some organ development. My taste buds allow me to distinguish between bitter, sweet and sour. My lungs have developed so well, I’m now officially considered viable. I could live outside my mom. My parents have each contributed 15,000 genes that determined not only what I look like, but how I taste stuff, how athletic I will be, any allergies I might have and so much more. Ain’t genes great!! Especially if my dad is an athlete. Tee-hee-hee.
September 18: Week 26
Thousands and thousands of brain cells are growing in my head every day. That’s very cool. I’ll soon have billions of them. I can make a fist and grasp things. My spine is beginning to form to protect my spinal cord. I’m covered by a white cheesy substance that protects my skin. But, don’t worry, Mom, it comes off right after birth. Mom can also tell when I have the hiccups.
September 25: Week 27
My taste buds continue to form. I can taste sweet things now. My mom likes chocolate and so do I! A bright light can be seen by me through my mommy’s tummy. I have eyelashes and eyebrows, now. My fingerprints are fully formed and they are growing. I might need them clipped when I’m born. Mom’s womb is about the size of a soccer ball. Can I call her my “Soccer Mom?”
July 3rd – Week 15
Chris’ taste buds are working! Chris drinks more amniotic fluid and it tastes sweet. Chris’ pain sensory system is developing, but who would want to hurt Chris? Chris may be small, but he is growing fast. Mother enjoys the fireworks and celebrates the birth of our nation, but Chris doesn’t hear anything yet.
July 10th – Week 16
“Soon I will be able to grasp with my hands. What will I grasp? My other hand. Did you know that I have my own unique fingerprints, now? My fingernails and toenails are growing. I also have an adult’s taste buds. My eyebrows and hair on my head are sprouting. But it will probably change color and texture after birth. I’m kicking, twisting, and flailing really hard. But, mom can’t feel me moving, yet.”
July 17th – Week 17
“I’m getting a little baby fat under my skin. My heart is pumping as much as 6 gallons a day at a rate about double my mom’s. I can swim and kick and do somersaults! I’m the same size as my placenta now. I’m not a lightweight anymore – I weigh almost six ounces and I am about three inches long. I will keep growing until I’m 23 years old. I wonder how big I’m going to be?”
Mom might be able to hear tiny thumps of Chris’ heartbeat with an external monitor now.
July 24th – Week 18
“When I am sleeping, I have REM which means I am dreaming, but I can’t remember my dreams. My vocal cords have formed but I don’t make a sound–must be because there is no air in here. Isn’t it amazing that I’m able to breathe ‘underwater,’ inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid? I’m working on developing great lungs.”
Mother may begin to feel Chris flutter in her lower abdomen.
July 31st – Week 19
Chris can hear his mother’s heartbeat and some other funny noises that she makes. He is beginning to know her voice. His umbilical cord is an engineering marvel. It transports 300 quarts of fluid per day and completes a round trip of fluids every 30 seconds.
“Wow. I really like sucking my thumb! I wonder if mom is starting to ‘show’ me now.”
It seems that Personhood is repeatedly in the news – and rightfully so. Support is swelling right here in Georgia and across the nation for the personhood initiatives that seek to protect all human life from conception forward as a matter of constitutional law. It would restore respect and effective legal protection for all human beings, including the unborn. The idea is simple and bold and ultimately, may provide a direct challenge to the central holding of Roe v Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal in the United States.
In our time of science and technology, we know that life begins at conception. It would seem that confusion still exists. Modern medicine is not confused, however. The unborn child is their patient in genetic problems, vitamin deficiencies, spina bifida and more. Consider the case of Samuel, a Georgia boy, operated on at 7 months of pregnancy. The surgery helped repair a major spinal defect and a healthy, active baby boy was the result. I have seen him captivate a room full of people with his bright, smiling face and of course, his favorite truck! Who is the patient, but a tiny unborn human being? These days we protect turtles, wolves, eagles, and whales, and yet we “do away” with babies at the rate of over 400,000 per year.
Legalized abortion has been a part of the American cultural scene since 1973. In the Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Harry Blackmun said that, “(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the 14th Amendment.” If an unborn child is a person, then their right to life trumps their mother’s right to choose their death. With the states passing of the Personhood Amendment the litigation would eventually be taken up by the Supreme Court. Whether the Supreme Court acts – or how – is an open debate. Previous challenges and pro-life strategies have been viewed in the courts as an attempt to take away from the rights of the mother. The recognition of unborn children as persons does not take away from the mother but recognizes unborn children with all legal rights and protection due them under the 14th amendment.
We cannot continue to diminish the value of any one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life. The personhood of the unborn child is the single point on which the entire debate turns. This is not the first time America has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of human lives. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a year, or even a decade. The good news was that the minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. It will take time to educate, clearly frame and present the issue at hand. Change is possible, however… and it begins with you and with me.
Let Georgia Right to Life help you educate your local chapter, your church or the citizens of your community on the value of Personhood. Contact Suzanne Ward, Director of Public Relations & Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.