Newsweek article on Personhood movement riles abortion proponents

A June 25 article in Newsweek about the Personhood movement is shaking up the pro-abortion community. Just read a sampling of the 315 comments and counting that have poured in since it was crossposted on The Daily Beast since yesterday.

Why? Because author Abigail Pesta wrote a fair piece that positively portrays Personhood leader Keith Mason (pictured above with wife Jennifer) and legitimizes the movement itself, concluding:

The group has helped spark 22 “personhood” bills and ballot initiatives; while none has passed, in each ballot vote on personhood, the margin of defeat has declined….

Personhood efforts have existed for decades, but they have never taken hold in the public imagination the way Mason’s work has.

Pesta expounds in this video…

Bottom line, great news:

His group is now collecting signatures for ballot efforts in Colorado, Ohio, and Montana for the November elections and in Florida for 2014….

He says his team has gained more than 80,000 volunteers and more than a million signatures….

As Mason’s team gathers signatures for the fall ballots in his most ambitious season so far, opponents are bracing for a fight. Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups have filed lawsuits and launched extensive publicity campaigns. Personhood is a “formidable presence in every state,” says NARAL’s Crane. “If any one of these initiatives passes, it could work its way through the courts. And the courts can’t necessarily be counted on these days to make decisions that will protect women’s health.”

There are those on our side who don’t think the courts should be counted on to go our way either, for example:

Paul Linton, former general counsel for the pro-life group Americans United for Life, says personhood is “fundamentally flawed,” as “no justice on the Supreme Court… has ever expressed the view that the unborn child is or should be regarded as a federal constitutional ‘person.’”

But it does look as though we will someday find out, just another reminder of the importance of this election, since the next president may select up to three Supreme Court justices.

[Photo via Newsweek]

11 thoughts on “Newsweek article on Personhood movement riles abortion proponents”

  1. “As Mason’s team gathers signatures for the fall ballots in his most ambitious season so far, opponents are bracing for a fight. Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups have filed lawsuits and launched extensive publicity campaigns.”

    Even after all this time, I am still struck by the irony of names like “planned parenthood” and “american civil liberties union” which promote neither parenthood, nor civility, nor liberty.    


  2. I’m always amazed that the same pro-life groups that stress the necessity of voting Republican for President (so they can nominate pro-life justices!) decry personhood because not even one SCOTUS justice affirms the personhood of the pre-born child.


  3. Personhood is logical, understandable, philosophically consistent, biblically consistent.  It is capturing the hearts of young pro-lifers who are tired of excuses for why the long-time organizations say life begins at conception, but then only go for lesser goals.  Do those older groups really have the crystal ball to know what the Supremes will do?  If so, why are Planned Parenthood and ACLU and “women’s groups” so alarmed by this strategy?


  4. What Personhood proponents don’t realize is the nature of the political landscape has changed.  Citizens United and subsequent decisions have forever altered the way politics is played.  
    The Pro-Life/Personhood movements are now caught in a Catch-22, partially brought upon by themselves.  Back in 2006, South Dakota Right To Life filed a challenge with the FCC against Pro-Choice TV and radio ads against the abortion ballot measure that they purported were “false speech”.  The FCC review never happened before the election, and fell by the wayside.  But, it was a warning to the Pro-Choice forces to be careful about how they talked about ballot issues.  
    In 2008, the same issues popped up once again, but SDRTL did not have the resources this time around to pursue additional FCC complaints in Federal Court. 
    Then, a little known decision in Montana Federal Court struck down “Anti-false speech” provisions regarding ballot issues, meaning now that ANY speech that is political directed at a BALLOT ISSUE can NEVER be false, no matter what is said.  Oddly enough, Conservative and religious persons supported the decision, because the ads in question called out certain issues and candidates that were near and dear to the Religious Right. 
    Forward to Colorado in 2010, and Mississippi 2011, where outside Pro-Choice groups ran every kind of ad imaginable, with some fringe groups patently lying outright.  However, in order to maintain the ability to have unrestricted political speech in other areas, Personhood proponents now had to sit back and just accept the running of ads from the other side.  Seriously, I can remember one ad that said “This Amendment would allow police to arrest a woman drinking alcohol at a bar, unless she has a negative pregnancy test in the past 24 hours”.  
    Under Citizens United, big Pharma can now donate tens of millions against Personhood in order to protect their interests in contraception.  Corporate funding of ads that are outright lies used to amount to racketeering and corruption charges.  Now, Corporate Personhood has overturned that.  
    Don’t believe me? Wait until this election round, and see the ads that come out against Personhood Amendments.  Then try to file an “anti-false speech” charge, OR trace the money funding that ad to the source. 


  5. Personhood is a “formidable presence in every state.”

    Personhood is a formidable presence everywhere, including the womb.


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