The Personhood split, Part II: Strategy

2935348.largeRead The Personhood split, Part I: Structure for background.

Aside from their structural variations, Personhood USA and National Personhood Alliance at first seemed to have similar goals – until the November 4 election.

At that time both the Colorado “Definition of Person and Child” Initiative and  North Dakota “Life Begins at Conception” Amendment failed, by 65% and 64%, respectively.

After the defeat of those two initiatives, added to the defeats in 2008 and 2010 of PUSA-sponsored personhood initiatives in Colorado by 73% and 70.5%, respectively, NPA publicly threw in the towel on state initiatives.

The hoister of the white flag was NPA National Policy Director Gualberto Garcia Jones, a former PUSA board member. Jones proclaimed in a post-election op ed, “[I]t isn’t an overstatement to say that the statewide personhood ballot measure is dead for now.”

Ironically, Jones complained in his op ed that at least one previous statewide personhood initiative had lost because it was “sabotaged” by “opposition from state leaders who should have been our allies.”

But isn’t that what Jones was doing to future statewide personhood efforts?

In fact, the personhood movement constantly criticizes - and rightfully so, in my opinion – incremental groups and leaders who publicly oppose their initiatives. Here’s one such letter… co-authored by Jones.

So I don’t understand the compulsion of one personhood group to publicly condemn a strategy spearheaded by another personhood group. You’d think they’d know better.

Pro-aborts ate it up, though.

As Jones should know, personhood efforts, like incremental efforts, are about more than winning at the ballot box or in a legislature, as this PUSA infographic shows (click to enlarge):


Keith Mason, head of PUSA, confirmed to me that PUSA now has a database of 7 million believers. 7 million. No other pro-life group can touch that.

Jones wrote that NPA is taking its efforts local – an incremental strategy, I might add (as are statewide personhood efforts, actually):

We need to start engaging in more asymmetrical tactics, and this means engaging the enemy in municipalities and counties that we know we control.

This can be done at the legislative and political level, as Georgia Right to Life and other groups have done by the endorsement of state officials, or it can be done by engaging in municipal ballot measures.

Dan Becker, former employee of PUSA and founder of NPA, expounded in an email:

We are adding a FOURTH “leg” to the NRLC (National Right to Life Committee) 3-legged stool - judicial tension through the interposition of “lesser magistrates.”

The legal doctrine of interposition is a well established principle. This is especially important as Personhood Alabama has a supportive state supreme court in Justice Tom Parker and Chief Justice Roy Moore. We are looking for various state supreme courts to issue conflicting rulings as an inducement for the U.S. Supreme Court to grant cert. The timeline for a USSC appeal would be after the 2016 election (assuming a GOP victory) and AFTER a replacement of Kennedy or the more liberal old folks.

Becker provided a link to the story of the Georgia city banning abortion clinics (which it has since walked back).

It’s fine, great, to work on any and all of the above. But we again return to the question, why the need for two national personhood groups?

In the final analysis, I think it all comes down to NPA leadership’s animus toward NRLC, with a healthy dose of personhood infighting. (Welcome to the club.) Both leaders of NPA are former employees of PUSA. As I wrote in Part I:

PA wants to formulate an organization of affiliates to compete against the National Right to Life Committee. (It helps to know NRLC disaffiliated Georgia Right to Life, of which Becker is still president, in March 2014 for a difference of opinion on strategy that culminated in GRTL’s public attempt to thwart a piece of NRLC’s legislation.)

PUSA wants to maintain a tight decision-making framework composed of a small leadership team and donor board, also with affiliates, but with no plan to rival and replace NRLC.

PUSA and NPA are working on the same efforts, some just different in scope. As Mason wrote in an email to supporters after the aforementioned op ed was published:

We have increased support for Personhood by 10% since the first initiative in 2008. Clearly, this is a social change model that works. Moreover, these initiatives are tools to build the grassroots infrastructure within a state to actually pass an amendment - it identifies people who consider themselves pro-life so that we can activate them to act pro-life. That’s how Personhood USA grew to become the largest grassroots pro-life organization in the country!

The state ballot initiative is also an educational tool that simultaneously provides a pro-life standard for lobbying and candidate endorsements.

Nevertheless, we realize the fatigue that can set in when we focus exclusively on state measures. That’s why the Personhood USA team developed the idea for regional and local personhood resolutions and measures - an idea which has now been bandied about in the media! We support “all-of-the-above” to work to pass Personhood.

PUSA and NPA share many if not most of the same affiliates. They even share the same name, over which there is now a trademark dispute.

The only real difference between the two is NPA wants to rival NRLC and PUSA doesn’t.

I saw it get personal between Georgia Right to Life/Dan Becker and Karen Handel. (And I was drawn into that, so I speak from experience as well.)

There seems to be a trend.


Pro-life blog buzz 11-18-14

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • At Women’s Rights without Frontiers, Reggie Littlejohn is encouraged by the UK ban on sex selection abortion:

    The message of sex-selection abortion is that girls do not deserve to live…. It is impossible to support women’s rights without supporting the right of females to be born.

  • Saynsumthn’s Blog says Planned Parenthood is again sending out appeals for money during the holidays. In the past, they even hawked gift certificates for their services.


  • Pro-Life Wisconsin reminds us that as we enter the Christmas season, the Salvation Army’s official website lists their acceptance of abortion under certain circumstances: rape, incest, life of the mother, and fetal abnormality.
  • At Secular Pro-Life, Sarah Terzo examines the words used by people to normalize and even romanticize the act of abortion, pointing out that, like George Orwell’s novel, 1984, words have opposite meanings. Terzo writes:

    Dismemberment is not an act of love or kindness. We don’t brutally murder our loved ones. Criminals do not commit their violent crimes out of love and concern for either their victims or society as a whole. These statements seem so obvious that it’s absurd to make them, and yet we have to bring it up because of extreme comments from pro-choicers….

    Too many Americans are ignorant as to what abortion actually does to a baby. Oh, on some intellectual level, they may be aware that abortion ends a life or potential life—but they have no idea how developed the babies are, how brutal and bloody abortion really is. They have not thought about the life of the child, the unseen victim who is growing within his mother’s womb, secure and safe, with a beating heart and developing brain, only to be suddenly, brutally killed.


  • ProWomanProLife discusses botched sterilizations in India, which happens much more frequently than is reported:

    This Reuters article reports on ten [now reportedly up to 13] women who died this week in India through botched sterilizations. Fourteen other women are in serious condition.

    But deaths due to sterilization is not news in India.

    Between 2009 and 2012, the government paid compensation for 568 deaths resulting from sterilization, the health ministry said in an answer to a question in parliament two years ago.

  • Wesley J. Smith notes that government-funded Swiss nursing homes are refusing to allow workers to voice objections to assisted suicide in their facilities. Smith warns that this is the way of the future if we continue to “swallow the hemlock”:

    “The new regulations specify that nursing home personnel will not be allowed to interfere if a patient chooses to die. In fact, they are required to set aside a room where the staff of the assisted suicide organisation Exit will help the person to die.

    Wow, imagine touring the nursing home and being shown the room reserved for assisted suicides. (Wonder if they call it the “comfort room.”)

  • Pro-Life Action League posts a video of another ambulance call to the massive abortion facility located in Aurora, Illinois. It is unusual for the staffer calling the ambulance to acknowledge what the medical problem is but they do note here that the patient is hemorrhaging following her abortion. The 911 operator seems familiar with the address and with the facility’s wish that a certain entrance be used:


[Photos via Pro-Life Wisconsin and]

Mother wins right to kill non-terminally ill, disabled daughter

nancyfitzmauriceby Kelli

We were constantly in and out of hospital. She never developed more than a six-month-old child.

Simple things like birds singing and hearing children play would put the most beautiful smile on her face. She loved Michael Buble and when I slurped my tea she would give out a hearty chuckle. I gave her the best quality of life she could possibly have….

She was screaming and writhing in agony 24 hours a day. Not being able to ease her suffering was too much to bear….

She wasn’t my angelic child any more, she was a shell. I wanted beautiful ­memories of Nancy, not soul-crushing ones. After a whole weekend of her screaming in agony, I decided I wasn’t going to watch my little girl suffer any more.

~ Charlotte Fitzmaurice, mother of disabled 12-year-old Nancy Fitzmaurice (pictured), who was starved and dehydrated to death in August after her mother petitioned courts to end Nancy’s life,, October 26

The UK’s Mirror notes, “In a landmark decision, Justice King immediately granted Charlotte’s request. Nancy died 14 days later at London’s Great Ormond Street with her family around her after fluids were withdrawn.

The ruling sets a precedent. It is the first time a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not suffering a terminal illness has been allowed to die.”

[Photo from Daily Mail]

Pro-life blog buzz 9-26-14

pro-lifeby Kelli

  • On the 34th anniversary of China’s One-Child Policy, Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers pens an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping in which she minces no words about the law’s brutality:

    The One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth.

    The One Child Policy is China’s war on women. Any discussion of women’s rights, or human rights, would be a charade if forced abortion in China is not front and center. It does not matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice on this issue. No one supports forced abortion, because it is not a choice.


  • At Stand True, Bryan Kemper shares the testimony of Lauran, who was raped as a teen and became pregnant with her daughter, Isabella, as a result. Lauran describes her feelings during her pregnancy:

    Life is a precious, sacred gift and it is not ours to choose whether life should end because of inconvenience or because of the circumstance of conception. I learned something so valuable in those eight months. I was not the person outsiders assumed I was. I was stronger than I ever knew possible. I had developed the heart of a mommy.

    In spite of the circumstances of her conception, I began to realize that my daughter was not a creation of violence, she was a gift from God, the creator of life. It was that realization that changed my perspective completely. One week after graduation Isabella Grace came into the world. I thought I had been strong for the past 9 months but I had no idea how much stronger I would become because of this beautiful little girl.

  • The March for Life Conference and Expo will be held on January 21, 2015, the day before the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This is a free, one day event which will include information on grassroots lobbying, legal history, panel discussions, exhibits from pro-life groups, and more! Register here.
  • Pro-Life NZ discusses in detail why the most often noted “exceptions” considered in the “pro-life with exceptions” position – rape/incest, fetal abnormality, and life of the mother – are in error:

    Once pro-lifers say there can be a “good reason” to kill a preborn baby, the foundation of the pro-life movement crumbles. The argument is lost. Either the preborn child is a person, or the child is not a person. Since the preborn child is a person, there can be no exceptions for abortion.

Broken Violin

  • At, Kevin Kukla takes apart the “most popular abortion argument of all time” – Judith Jarvis Thompson’s “unconscious violinist” scenario.
  • ProWomanProLife remarks on what happens “in an abortion-promoting culture where we attempt to separate sex from pro-creation”:

    It seems that Sex Ed 101 teaches where babies come from. Babies are conceived via sex. Sex = babies.

    If that’s the case and if most people in North America are aware of this fact, how in the world can a man “accidentally” conceive a child?

    This can only happen in an abortion-promoting culture where we attempt to separate sex from pro-creation. We all know that no contraception is 100% effective. But what is pretty darn effective is abortion.

    And this is what leads to an inconceivable quote like this one:

    In consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to become a parent, just as in consenting to any activity, one does not consent to yield to all the accidental outcomes that might flow from that activity.

    Therefore sex no longer leads to babies, or unwanted babies in any case, therefore men and women can become “accidentally” pregnant, bear no responsibility and the child in the womb is killed or, if he/she lives, may have to do without a “desperate” parent who opted out.

[Photo via]

Pro-life photos of the week: Buses, baby, and chalk

Click all images to enlarge…

Facebook caption for this September 8 photo: “Created Equal shows Westerville High School [Westerville, Ohio] students the victims of abortion”:

10177384_698197806924530_1550836479073715467_n (1)

Explanation for this next photo comes via the UK’s Daily Mail, September 11:

A grieving mother has released this poignant picture of her daughter crying moments after being born at 24 weeks.

Emily Caines wants to show how developed her baby was at this stage of pregnancy - the legal limit for abortions in Britain.

Adelaide survived for only about an hour after she was delivered by doctors who tried in vain to keep her alive.

This is Mrs Caines’ only picture of her daughter, and was taken by one of the medics before the infant died.

She and her husband Alastair, a security guard, think the legal limit of 24 weeks for an abortion should be lowered.

“Our picture shows Adelaide was not a foetus,” said Mrs Caines, 35, from Yeovil, Somerset. “She was a fully formed human being, and to think that a baby like her could be legally terminated is to me horrifying…. I hope this beautiful picture of my daughter being born helps change people’s perspectives.”


Finally, these photos come via Mirna Awrow, president of Students for Life of Michigan, who blogged about Oakland University’s pro-life group going to an inordinate amount of trouble to chalk “positive pro-life messages” on the evening of September 11 only to have abortion proponents on campus dump water on their work or maliciously change wording.


photo 3 (1)


[Bottom photos via @ProLifeLawyer on Twitter]

Wendy Davis reveals her late-term “quieting of the heart” abortion

Wendy Davis late-term abortion

One of the plot lines in a movie I watched over the weekend involved a pregnant mother. The film was set in the 1940s, and I thought how blissfully ignorant were the days before ultrasounds and prenatal diagnoses gave mothers carrying ill or handicapped children the choice to bear them when nature decided or kill them beforehand.

Had Texas state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis been pregnant back then she would not have imagined the late-term baby girl doing flips inside her was “suffering.” Rather, Davis would have put her hand on her belly and smiled. Instead, quoting from Davis’ upcoming book, Forgetting to be Afraid, via the AP:

I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”

This was 1997. Davis and then husband had learned the brain of their preborn daughter “had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides” meaning the baby ”would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery.”

Wendy Davis ABC exclusive late-term abortionSo the couple decided “the most loving thing we could do for our daughter was to say good-bye,” as Davis explained in an “ABC Exclusive” that the Davis campaign scheduled to launch a book tour highlighting Davis’ abortion. “Say good-bye” in this case was code for “kill her,” which the Davises watched. Quoting MSNBC:

“In our doctor’s office, with tears flowing down both our faces, Jeff and I looked at our baby daughter’s beating heart on the sonogram screen for the last time,” Davis wrote. “And we watched as our doctor quieted it. It was over. She was gone. Our much-loved baby was gone.” She goes on to describe delivering the stillborn baby through cesarean section and how she and Jeff spent a day holding and mourning her.

Be still your heart

The Davises named their baby Tate Elise. “Quieting” little Tate’s heart in this case meant piercing it with a needle and injecting a drug, either Digoxin or potassium chloride, to cause a massive heart attack. Late-term abortionist George Tiller used the former. Quoting Matt Walsh:

Tiller said this was “painless” and “peaceful,” but why don’t you go and have a massive heart attack and then come back and tell us just how painless and peaceful it all was.

And quiet.

It is no wonder Davis then went into a funk, although I expect she’d say she was mourning and not suffering post-abortion guilt:

“An indescribable blackness followed. It was a deep, dark despair and grief, a heavy wave that crushed me, that made me wonder if I would ever surface … And when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed,” Davis wrote.

6a0133f2e9fdbf970b0192ac0c0de2970dChange for the worst

“Forever changed” for Davis meant turning into a late-term abortion zealot. On June 25, 2013, Davis conducted an 11-hr filibuster against a 20-week abortion ban in Texas. This would have seemed a good time to mention her own late-term abortion (as well as an earlier ectopic pregnancy), but she didn’t. Quoting Fox:

At one point during the filibuster, Davis said she almost felt compelled to talk about her failed pregnancies.

“But knowing such an unexpected and dramatically personal confession would overshadow the events of the day, I knew the time wasn’t right,” she wrote.

I’m not so sure. The emotional tug behind such a revelation might have impacted the outcome.

Another good time for Davis to mention her abortion would have been when she announced her candidacy for governor - to inoculate herself from Abortion Barbie critiques.

A really good time to disclose her abortion would have been when a pro-lifer displayed “Abortion Barbie” posters in Los Angeles ahead of a celebrity fundraiser this past May. Knowing what we know now makes it pretty awful:

Abortion Barbie poster Wendy Davis

But Davis didn’t say anything then either.

Hail Mary pass

Now, with the election for governor less than two months away, and Davis losing in the polls to pro-life Republican Greg Abbott by double digits, Davis has decided to not only reveal her abortion but make it a large part of a book and her campaign. Quoting Davis, "Forgetting to be afraid"

The story of her pregnancy with Tate, however, is a key part of her memoir. The book’s dedication begins, “For my daughters, Amber and Dru and Tate, who taught me a love deeper than I believed was possible.”

Amber is her daughter from her first marriage and Dru, from her second, to Jeff Davis….

Davis ends the book with a story of a time she felt Tate said good-bye to her, when she and her husband and friends were on a golf course and Davis was caught in a cylindrical swirl of leaves, lifted by the wind.

“And I felt her. I was sure of it. Tate. Moving through me, saying her good-byes to me. Letting me go,” Davis wrote.

From another article:

Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said… he found it “really jarring and kind of amazing” that the Davis campaign was highlighting the book to try to “maximize the benefit of this revelation.”

Good Morning America is featuring a Davis appearance Monday, and ABC promoted a snippet of the interview Saturday after stories broke about the memoir.

Whether Davis’ abortion revelation might help her politically was the calloused topic of an MSNBC segment, with the determination being yes, it will “resonate with moderate women.”

Abortion sympathies

I utterly sympathize with parents who get devastating prenatal diagnoses such as that which the Davises received.

I even sympathize with mothers who decide to abort their babies in such cases. I know from viewing it firsthand the pressure placed upon them to abort while they are traumatized and vulnerable by a eugenic medical community that gives one-sided advice, either out of misplaced compassion or self-interest.

But I do not sympathize with a mother who bypasses less cynical opportunities to reveal her late-term abortion in lieu of a well-timed and financed book bombshell during the last weeks of a losing political campaign, and then to camouflage the reality of that abortion by calling it a “good-bye” done by “quiet[ing]” the heart.

And all the swooning by abortion sellers like Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, who praised Davis for her “unwavering courage,” makes me sick.

[Top photo via Associated Press]

Shock: Wendy Davis had a late-term abortion

Wendy Davis, "Forgetting to be afraid"Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who became a national political sensation by filibustering her state’s tough new restrictions on abortion, discloses in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion in the 1990s after discovering that the fetus had a severe brain abnormality.

In Forgetting to be Afraid, Davis also writes about ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus….

The second pregnancy happened in 1996. Davis writes that during her second trimester she took a blood test that could determine chromosomal or neural defects, which doctors first told her didn’t warrant concern. But a later exam revealed that the brain of the fetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides, Davis says. She sought opinions from multiple doctors, who told her the baby would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery, she writes.

“I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”

She goes on to say that an “indescribable blackness followed” the pregnancy and that the loss left her forever changed.

The ectopic pregnancy happened in 1994, and terminating it was considered medically necessary, Davis writes. 

~ Associated Press via The Blaze, September 6

Pro-life vid of day: Technology can never replace love (Kleenex alert!)

VIral-1by Kelli

From dtac, a communications company in Thailand, comes a commercial which reminds us that “technology can never replace love.” Some complain that the video does new fathers a disservice, assuming them to be incompetent at taking care of children, but others believe the video is a reminder of how much we need each other. With the YouTube video dtac writes:

Today mobile technology is so crucial that it becomes among the things many people can’t live without. Mobile technology development strives to bring solution for communication obstacles and replace many, many things in our life. That’s why some people believe technology makes the impossible possible. Meanwhile, the more advanced technology has developed, the more longing we have for the one thing… the thing that technology can never replace.

This commercial recalls the one thing that drives our life forward.

If you believe that ‘heart’ makes the world we live, allow your heart to open wider to people around you.


Email with your video suggestions.

[HT: Susie Allen; Reflections of a Paralytic]

Who Is Jill Stanek?

Jill Stanek is a nurse turned speaker, columnist and blogger, a national figure in the effort to protect both preborn and postborn innocent human life.

Read Jill's full bio »
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