The Perfect Storm

January 2013 marks the 40th year of legalized abortion in the United States.  We have watched in horror as the ‘slippery slope’ many had predicated continues to degrade the inherent value of human life.

The life movement is at a cross roads.  There is dissension even among proclaimed ‘prolifers’ on just what is needed to turn our current ‘culture of death’ around.  Do we head into the storm – or take a different path?

While prolifers may agree on the end goal, the specific strategy on just what steps are needed to get there may vary.

Enter Personhood.

Early Personhood efforts suffered from a lack of direction and support.  Launched in 2008 by Keith Mason, Personhood USA has caught the attention of more than a few supporters.  The ideals of Personhood are young and bold and have attracted over 80,000 volunteers to help promote the cause.

“The uniqueness of each life is at the very core of Personhood, they say.  It is the story of the Imago Dei, the image of God, not written by man, but by God himself.”  Though there has been much difficulty, there has also been reason to celebrate, including:

  • Personhood USA was active in 32 states by 2010 with efforts in each of the 50 states by January 2011
  • Personhood USA hosted Presidential prolife forum in Iowa (December 2011) and South Carolina (January 2012)
  • Personhood efforts captured the attention of over 1 billion people worldwide with the Mississippi Personhood campaign in November 2011
  • Twelve nations joined the fight for Personhood at The First Personhood Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal
  • The Vatican endorsed a European Union Personhood Initiative in May 2012

Finally, a relatively unexplained decision by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma may have created the ‘perfect storm’ and may ultimately cause the United States Supreme Court to re-visit the case that legalized abortion in the first place.

Personhood Oklahoma collected signatures for a Personhood Amendment earlier this spring.  On April 30, 2012 the Supreme Court of Oklahoma determined the petition initiative to be ‘void on its face’ and ruled the ballot measure unconstitutional.  The nine member court cited Planned Parenthood v Casey and said, "The only course available to this court is to follow what the United States Supreme Court, the final arbiter of the United States Constitution, has decreed."

Their decision denied Oklahoma citizens their rights to vote on the issue and to petition the government for a change in state law.

Steve Crampton, lead counsel for Personhood Oklahoma in the case, remarked, “By claiming Casey as the justification for its decision, they have unwittingly given us the perfect opportunity to formally petition the court for a re-consideration of Casey and Roe,” he said.  Crampton, also Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, further stated that the Personhood Amendment by itself does not make abortion illegal.  It simply defines the term ‘person’.

And yet, abortion activists are indeed concerned.  “Personhood is a formidable presence in every state, says Donna Crane, a policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America. “If any one of these initiatives passes, it could work its way through the  courts.”

In April 2011, Rachel Maddow, talk show host and political commentator, remarked that abortion rights were becoming more restrictive than ever.  "The prochoice community, to date, have not challenged some of theses restrictions", she said.  In an interview with Terri O'Neill, President of National Organization for Women, O'Neill stated the problem:  "The Supreme Court might take the opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade".

Our choice is clear.  Waiting is not an option. The time is now…we head into the storm.

In late August 2011, Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the eastern coast of the United States. Eight hours away, even the Atlanta area showed signs of what would be the fifth most costly U.S. hurricane in history.

Ironically, our oldest son was scheduled to be married on the beaches of North Carolina on the very day the storm was predicted to make landfall.  After much deliberation, my husband and I made the decision to head into the storm – what was waiting for us on the other side was worth it.

The ‘perfect storm’ is here in Georgia this July 31st

Georgia’s ‘Life Amendment’, Question 5 on this month’s GOP Primary Ballot, echoes the Personhood initiatives in other states.  Specifically, the question asks:

“Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?”

Your ‘YES’ vote on the ‘Life Amendment’ sends a clear message to our legislators that Georgians want laws that respect and protect all life.  It is an important first step in putting the question before all voters in an upcoming election.

The ‘Life Amendment’ – the ‘perfect storm’ right here in Georgia.

 

Suzanne L. Ward
Georgia Right to Life
Education/Public Relations