Online Debate Examines Colorado Personhood Amendment Tactic

Update (December 16, 2010): Rebuttals have now been posted below each opening statement
Second rebuttals have been posted as of December 10, 2010. Concluding arguments have been posted as of December 16. There will be no further formal postings from Mr. Ashley or Mr. Ertelt, who are now free to engage in discussion with you, the readers, in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

For many years Operation Rescue has worked to restore legal protections to the pre-born. In early 2006, when South Dakota was attempting to pass the first state-wide ban on abortion, Operation Rescue was there supporting those efforts. Later, when that law was challenged through the referendum process, Operation Rescue was there.

We sent one of our missionaries at that time, Keith Mason, who now heads Personhood U.S.A., to South Dakota, Mississippi, and elsewhere to learn all he could about the abortion bans that were sweeping the nation in 2006, so we could know best how to support those efforts.

In our office, we often discussed the topic of personhood and how the “Blackman Hole” was the loophole in Roe v. Wade that could eventually lead our country back to restoring legal protections for all, no matter the age or stage of development. (Read one of our articles from 2006 discussing this topic.) One could say that the Personhood Movement was birthed in our office.

Keith Mason learned well from us, and after leaving Operation Rescue, he founded Personhood U.S.A. and began promoting Personhood amendments throughout the country, especially in Colorado.

Recently, a lively discussion on Facebook concerning Colorado’s twice defeated Amendment 62 prompted Newman to extend an invitation to the Personhood camp and to those who question the wisdom of tactics used by Personhood U.S.A. in Colorado to a friendly debate. We asked both sides to submit 400 word statements in support of their views. We asked only that both sides refrain from ad hominem attacks. Other than removing any name-calling, we promised not to alter their statements in any way. (In fact, we have printed the statements submitted without edits of any kind.) Unfortunately, that one condition caused several from Personhood U.S.A. to pull out of the debate.

However, Keith Ashley, of Personhood Kansas graciously agreed to step in and submit a statement on behalf of the Personhood organization. Steven Ertelt, Editor of LifeNews.com, has agreed to submit a statement in opposition.

We literally flipped a coin to see whose statement would post first. Mr. Ashley won the coin toss and will appear first, with Mr. Ertelt’s statement directly below.

We encourage you to read the two statements and engage in the debate through the comment feature at the end of the articles. Which side do you favor? We ask, as we have with our debaters, that those who comment abstain from ad hominem attacks and profanity. All comments are moderated, and while we encourage debate, we will not allow personal attacks on individuals or groups.

“It is our prayer that this debate will air ideas that will ultimately be beneficial for the Pro-life Movement as a whole and help guide us toward the most efficient and practical way to stop abortion in America as soon as humanly possible,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “That is a goal to which we can all agree.”

PRO

For 38 years, incrementalists have advocated for legislation that purports to “chip away” at Roe. They’ve passed parental notification laws–the abortionists point to the nearest court handing out judicial bypasses. They push for late-term abortion bans with health exceptions–the courts sweep in and define the terms to include mental health disorders such as depression and stress, common side effects of pregnancy. They tout achievements such as the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban–the abortionists go about their daily business using alternate methods to burn and dismember defenseless children. The good people of Colorado and many of us around the country are of the opinion that the time has come to change course.

A Gallup poll taken last May found that people who identify as “pro-life” once again outnumber those who identify as “pro-choice.” 19% of the country believes that abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances,” and the highest percentage, 37%, responded that abortion should be “legal in only a few circumstances.” It’s assumed that these “few circumstances” are those children conceived by rape and those whose lives are in conflict with their mothers. I submit to you that the reason for this disconnect is a confusion of the cause and effect.

Incrementalists believe that the cause is the opinions held by the people—with the effect being that the only option left to them is to pass laws with wide public support. The reality is that the opinions are the result of decades of pandering. Because the issue has been so completely politicized, people who identify as “pro-life” look to their political leaders for guidance. These leaders include pro-life advocacy organizations, and because they have been eager to compromise, so too have the people.

A poll taken before the election in 2008 found that just 9% of Coloradoans supported a total ban on abortion—far below national averages. However, when it came time to pull the lever this year, 30% voted to declare that every human being is a person no matter their age. Personhood moves the base. Personhood is a game changer. Personhood distances the movement from one concerned with banning an institutionalized medical procedure and repositions it as an education and recognition of the positive human rights of the youngest people. Coloradoans and Americans everywhere are in desperate need of shepherding towards the principled and morally consistent position. In this, A62 has been a success.

Keith Ashley is a husband and father of three. He is the former Director of Rock for Life Kansas and a current committee member with Personhood Kansas, a grassroots organization campaigning to amend the Kansas Constitution to recognize the right to life of every human person from our biological beginnings. Keith also works full-time in Christian ministry at a home for teenage boys and volunteers with Justice for All, a pro-life campus outreach group based out of Wichita.
__________
Rebuttal to “PRO” Statement
By Steven Ertelt, Founder and Editor, Lifenews.com

Keith’s initial post in this exchange is, sadly, not a defense of running the amendment in Colorado but a criticism of other pro-life efforts.
He criticizes “incrementalists” who want to pass laws to stop some abortions while we work to eliminate all of them and defines most pro-lifers as something other than who we are and what we want. We absolutely want abortion ended immediately, but we recognize the only way to legally protect unborn children is through the political process — a long-term proposition akin to ending slavery.

The question is not whether, as Keith unfortunately describes it, anyone is “eager to compromise” but what will we do until we can protect every unborn child.

Until then, should we at least ban one form of abortion (which doesn’t have a health exception as Keith claimed)? Should we ensure taxpayers aren’t forced to fund abortions?
Should we at least ensure parents know when their little girl wants an abortion or leave them in the dark? Should we ensure women know the development of their baby and receive information on abortion alternatives?

The answer for all but the most extreme pro-abortion Americans is absolutely yes. And because half to two-thirds of Americans agree with those proposals, we’ve shifted public opinion to the pro-life side, as reflected in the Gallup poll Ashley cited.

Also, the evidence shows “incrementalism” is working as we’re perhaps two judges closer to overturning Roe and abortions have dropped to historic lows in many states.

Passing laws to stop as many abortions as possible, until we can ban abortion outright, has stopped a massive number of abortions. States like Mississippi, Michigan, South Carolina and Missouri have seen abortions cut in half thanks to these laws. Those clearly are “achievements” worth celebrating and “changing course” makes little sense.

Finally, as to the lone defense of the amendment, Ashley claims it moves the base — but the opposite appears to be true.

In a Democratic election year the amendment received just 27 percent while, in this Republican year, it received just 29 percent. The 2010 elections saw a 7 percent Republican shift from 2008, but the amendment only gained two percent. If Keith is right, and the amendment can successfully shift public opinion, it should have gained more than 7 percent. Instead, the amendment ran behind public opinion and will undoubtedly be defeated again in 2012.
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Reply by Mr. Ashley, Personhood Kansas

Surely Mr. Ertelt could agree that it is valid, in an opinionated debate concerning pro-life strategy, to open with the major criticisms of the alternative in demonstrating the necessity of challenging the status quo.

Some of the questions he poses present an opportunity for agreement. Some do not. In any case, the
answer to all of them is “personhood.” The more pressing area of disagreement is in his premise–that
these personhood measures are destined for failure.

Personhood advocates believe that we are called to be faithful, and in so doing, we have discovered a
legal basis that we intend to exploit, primarily, “the authority of the State to exercise its police power
or its sovereign right to adopt in its own Constitution individual liberties more expansive than those
conferred by the Federal Constitution” (Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 1980). For interested
parties, an in depth analysis can be found in “Personhood: A Path to Victory” by Gualberto Garcia Jones,
J.D. under the “Articles” tab at PersonhoodKansas.com.

Mr. Ertelt’s rebuttal goes on to claim that “we’ve shifted public opinion to the pro-life side.” In
reality, medical and technological advances, educational projects, graphic displays, youth outreach
organizations, sidewalk counselors, and CPC’s can claim responsibility for changing hearts and
minds. These most noble endeavors are separate from the incremental legal strategy. Instead,
advocates of the incremental legal strategy can make claim in helping to moderate personal and political
positions.

When taking issue with the concept that personhood moves the base, Mr. Ertelt is comparing apples
to oranges, and a bit of clarification is in order. The 7% shift he references is a political swing for the
Republican Party in an election dominated by fiscal issues. The personhood phenomenon is a pro-life
movement towards the position that recognizes every abortion as intrinsically evil. From the statistics
I cited in opening, it is obvious that Amendments 48 and 62 can account for this 21 point shift in
Colorado. Despite his efforts to convince us of the contrary, these numbers are very encouraging.
__________
Concluding Argument by Steve Ertelt

The debate in this forum, graciously sponsored by Operation Rescue, is over and the debate about whether another personhood amendment should be proposed in Colorado in 2012 should be over as well.

Typically, when pro-life groups or leaders offer factual criticism of the amendment and the failed legal and political strategy behind it, supporters resort to personal attacks or criticize groups or people who have been working to stop abortions.

That was the case with this forum as Personhood USA would not participate because its officials refused to commit to a good faith debate without attacking me.

Even without personal attacks, Keith’s initial post speaks volumes as his first words were not in defense of the amendment but were an attack on the work the pro-life movement has done that has reduced abortions to historic lows and has shut down hundreds of abortion businesses.

It’s time for amendment supporters to acknowledge these facts:

1. The amendment in Colorado hasn’t even received 30 percent of the vote, let alone a majority, in two tries even under the best case political scenario.

2. The amendment has had no proven political or educational value in terms of shifting public opinion or assisting pro-life candidates and appears to have had the opposite effect.

3. The amendment (in any state) will be immediately overturned in court if it is somehow miraculously approved and amendment supporters have done nothing to change the Supreme Court to overturn Roe and allow the amendment to stand.

4. The amendment, as pro-life attorneys point out (see comments below), may not result in protecting unborn children even if it is approved by voters and upheld in court.

These factual points were not rebutted in this debate. As a result, it is time for amendment supporters to end what is and will continue to be a failed attempt to end abortions via an amendment that, currently, has no chance of saving one unborn child and has hurt pro-life candidates supporting efforts that will end abortion.

The pro-life movement needs real unity behind the only next step that will save lives — defeating President Barack Obama, installing a pro-life president and Senate ,and adding that one additional justice who may prove to be the deciding vote to end Roe and pave the way for the kind of amendments and abortion bans we all want to see.

Will amendment supporters join us or continue these attacks?
__________
__________

CON

On election day, Colorado voters defeated the personhood amendment for a second time on a lopsided margin. If we truly care about ending abortion, we need to learn some important lessons from this defeat and refocus our efforts.

The 2010 election was a landslide for the pro-life movement, but the Colorado personhood amendment lost by a 71-29 percent margin — just a two percent improvement from the 27 percent who supported it in 2008. The political environment for passing the amendment will likely never be better, yet it came nowhere close to passing.

The second defeat of the personhood amendment came at a price for the pro-life movement.
The time, money and effort spent on an the amendment could have been put towards pro-life candidates Tom Tancredo and Ken Buck, who lost by narrow margins. Instead, we have a governor and senator who will continue to force us to fund the Planned Parenthood and abortion with taxpayer dollars.

The pro-life movement needs to learn from these defeats and understand the solution to end abortion — changing the courts. We have to defeat Barack Obama in 2012 and elect a pro-life Senate to have any chance of overturning Roe v. Wade and banning abortions.

If Colorado backs Obama in 2012 and he becomes president for another four years, he could appoint the Supreme Court judges who will keep unlimited abortions in place for decades. Colorado was the first state to legalize abortions pre-Roe and we could become the state to keep it legal another 37 years unless we focus all our efforts on defeating Obama.

Therefore, we can’t afford to spend considerable time and money on an amendment that is losing at the polls and won’t be upheld in the current pro-abortion Supreme Court. A third campaign for a personhood amendment in 2012 will dilute the resources of the pro-life movement that need to be focused on defeating Obama. And with Obama on the ballot to turn out pro-abortion voters, the amendment won’t win a majority anyway.

We need a united pro-life movement in Colorado and nationwide focusing all of its energy and attention on the 2012 elections — only then can we truly protect unborn children.

As the founder and Editor of LifeNews.com, Steven Ertelt has provided the pro-life community with news via the Internet since 1993. He also serves on the board of directors of Colorado Citizens for Life, the statewide pro-life group. He is the past president of Right to Life of Wyoming and previously served as the executive director of Montana Right to Life and the public affairs director for Indiana Right to Life. Mr. Ertelt is also a former president of Students for Life of America and started the college outreach program at the National Right to Life Committee. A former radio announcer who has been interviewed on dozens of radio and television programs, Mr. Ertelt holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Hendrix College.
__________

Rebuttal to “CON” Statement
By Keith Ashley, Personhood Kansas

One of the lessons learned from A62 is that it requires so very little in resources to mobilize, activate, and educate thousands of people. One could say that these referenda also have the effect of increasing turnout for pro-life candidates down-ballot. And while the pro-life movement is vibrant and young, the old pro-choice guard is dwindling and stale. With this in mind, one could argue that the opposite is true–that one of the best ways to help pro-life candidates in these swing states is by initiating a personhood ballot measure.

With more support from the greater pro-life community to promote measures across the country and pro-life media outlets to help battle the abortion industry propaganda machine, it’s possible to envision what could potentially be the largest pro-life turnout ever.

It has also become a necessary exercise in this debate to examine the possibilities if personhood advocates were to shut down and focus wholly on defeating Obama.

1. We are successful in electing a pro-life candidate. Are we then guaranteed victory?

We would all certainly hope so. However, it must be noted that just a few short years ago, we had elected the most pro-life President and Congress in history. For two decades, seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court were Republican appointees. And yet, abortion on demand perseveres. It’s safe to say that fully investing ourselves in elections and judicial appointments has, thus far, proven a disappointment.

2. Despite our best efforts, Obama wins reelection. Will we have then let our best opportunity for “decades” pass by?

In reference to Justice Kennedy’s federalist principles and ever increasingly conservative rulings, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center writes, “In many respects, the best case to present to the Court is one in which a state is seeking to protect human life as a matter of state constitutional law. For a state to amend its constitution to protect life speaks volumes to the Court. And it is perhaps the best case scenario to tip the balance of the scale with Justice Kennedy.”

There may be some room for agreement here in that it will not be Colorado that is first to stop the killing. Instead, we look to Mississippi, who in less than a year from now will take bold and declarative action. And it will be due, in part, to the road map laid out in Colorado.
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Reply from Mr. Ertelt, LifeNews.com

In his rebuttal to my opening statement, Keith makes some claims about the personhood amendment that don’t square with the facts.

He claims the amendment increased turnout for pro-life candidates, yet, as I’ve demonstrated, it ran behind the election momentum and pro-life candidates lost despite running it twice. Claiming an amendment that never managed 30 percent in the polls somehow is responsible for pro-life candidates winning doesn’t pass the straight face test.

Plus, the major pro-life candidates in both election cycles didn’t win. In 2010, statewide pro-life candidates Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo lost. In 2008, Bob Schaffer lost his race. Not only did the amendment not help them, amendment supporters attacked Buck and Schaffer and caused pro-life voters to be confused about their sterling pro-life credentials.

Keith questions what would happen if amendment efforts shut down to focus on what is the only option to end abortion — changing the presidency, the Senate, and, ultimately, the courts. Yet he forgets the central problem with the amendment — it will never be upheld in court, even if passed. Changing the courts is the only route to ending abortion.

He calls efforts to effect change disappointing, but we are potentially just one vote away from perhaps overturning Roe v. Wade. Defeating Obama in 2012 gives us the real chance of getting that fifth vote and possibly protecting unborn children.

If amendment efforts shut down to focus on this goal, the chances increase of electing a president who will appoint justices more likely to reverse Roe and uphold a personhood amendment or abortion ban. Changing the courts is a slow and painstaking process, but we have no other choice if we want abortions banned.

Keith worries about wasted efforts if Obama wins the election. If Obama wins, as I explained in my earlier post, the likelihood of ever reversing Roe and protecting unborn children is almost assuredly put off for decades more because he will be able to further shape the Supreme Court. Why would anyone spend even one second of time on an amendment that is doomed to fail and allow that possibility to occur?

Amendment backers should put aside the amendment in 2012 and put every bit of their time and effort into ensuring that Obama doesn’t keep abortion legal for another 37 years. This election is so crucial to protecting the unborn and every pro-life person must get involved.
__________

Concluding Argument by Keith Ashley

In closing, it may be useful to note that the pro-life movement is in unanimous agreement that every human being is inherently possessed with the natural, God-given, and unalienable right to life. And it is, not just “banning abortion,” but the recognition of these personhood rights of all people, born and preborn, that is our shared end goal.

The time has come to refocus, and one fact remains–little baby boys and girls, human persons, are being killed by the thousands every day in this country. It is truly unbelievable. We can fight this battle on multiple fronts, and we must have a pro-life movement that considers it their moral obligation to recognize the rights of the preborn now.

For the sake of preborn children everywhere awaiting their fate, let us envision how victory in both camps might serve as a benefit to them. In the most likely event that a personhood measure is ratified at a time not too far distant, it could certainly find its way to the desk of a Supreme Court justice, newly appointed by a pro-life President.

At the same time, “since no one knows the future,” stand with us in truth and have faith in the power of our God to work in the hearts of men. Let us be mindful that the risk we run in delay are the lives of the millions of children scheduled to die in the time between this very moment, the complete nullification of that dreadful decision, and the rectification of law.

If it is defeat that concerns you, take heart! Please be assured that Roe will always be the subject of review by a constitutionally sound court because the “right to abortion” is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. It is a myth—a crime against humanity—and we will not break.

Let us also remember that even in defeat, we are victorious. This great nation of ours has lost her way. Whether or not you agree with the potential of a personhood measure to produce the desired result, one must never deny that this educational function—in the very truth of the matter–is one of its greatest assets.

Finally, closing the chapter on Roe may or may not be sufficient in accomplishing this stated end goal. However, the vindication of these rights will certainly spark the great wave across this nation soon to follow. Why would any advocate of life oppose the beginning of the process that many foresee as an eventual necessity–amending our secular laws to definitively recognize the rights of the preborn? If this is indeed the reality we face, Colorado is certainly not exempt.

“The time is always right to do what’s right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Karen Raaymakers

    You can’t compromise on babies’ lives! When you support a law that forbids abortions over 20 weeks, but gives free reign to abortions under 20 weeks, you are responsible for all the little ones killed before 20 weeks.
    Wilberforce was not dealing with wholesale slaughter; WE ARE !!!

  • Vanessa

    Karen’s post is typical of what I consider flawed thinking on behalf of many who support Personhood amendments. Their premise is wrong, therefore they come to faulty conclusions. They think that clinic regulations will allow babies to die. That isn’t true. Roe v. Wade has condemned every child in the womb in America, whether there are clinic regulations/restrictions or not. The question now becomes, how can we save as many babies as we can under these conditions until the condition that condemn every baby changes. Abortion restrictions, while perhaps not changing the conditions that have caused all pre-born babies to be at risk, do in fact save babies and sometimes even close abortion clinics and put abortionists behind bars. To say those that saving as many babies as we can is condemning the rest to death is just plain wrong. Those babies were all condemned already. Let’s say you came across a shipwreck with 100 drowning people in the water. You have a small boat that will only hold ten. You row out and save ten. Would you then be tried for murdering 90 people because you did not have the right conditions to save them all? Of course not. Abortion restrictions don’t end with “then you can kill a baby.” They end with “now you can save some babies and close an abortion mill.” I will take these bills all day long until we can finally abolish abortion altogether, something that the Personhood amendments have not been able to do, either. Final note: To oppose regulatory legislation that will save babies is immoral, in my opinion. It is the illogical attitude that we should kill as many babies as we can until we can save them all. It doesn’t even make any sense.

  • Michaela Dasteel

    REPLY TO PAUL LINTON:

    Here’s the Achilles heel of the Roe decision. Read the following passages from Roe in light of embryos being created in petri dishes and frozen outside the womb for years. This focues attention on their identity separate from the mother or even from their “potential”. It focuses on their identity and what their DNA reveals. I think that these “Brave New World” developments can actually help to bypass Roe the way the Dred Scott decision (which was never reversed) was bypassed by the 14th ammendment. Maybe even without the need for another amendment to the US constitution.

    ROE:
    The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus, if one accepts the medical definitions of the developing young in the human uterus. See Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary 478-479, 547 (24th ed.1965)… As we have intimated above, it is reasonable and appropriate for a State to decide that, at some point in time another interest, that of health of the mother or that of potential human life, becomes significantly involved. The woman’s privacy is no longer sole and any right of privacy she possesses must be measured accordingly.

    NOTE: Biologically, there is no such thing as potential human life. Human life, according to embryology texts, begins when the sperm contacts the oocyte. Roe gets the science wrong. Also, here they are stating that the State can decide that “at some point in time” the interest of that “potential life” can become involved. Personhood movement is saying that the states can establish that point in time as the biological beginning and that since personhood is a quality of human life, the biological beginning is also the beginning of personhood.

    Roe goes on to say:

    The appellee and certain amici 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, [p157] for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.

    NOTE: There you go.

    The appellant conceded as much on reargument. [n51] On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument [n52] that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    NOTE: State Personhood ammendments or laws will bring that case without mentioning abortion.

    ….All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word “person,” as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.

    NOTE: The court was fed incorrect information about those 19th century practices. I think they were siting PC historians with an agenda. Do you agree?

  • Magdalene

    In spite of how the numbers and percentages are crunched, I think the Personhood push did know success and in a way that we cannot measure. By this I mean we cannot measure how many hearts were touched and changed.

    I think it was Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Maybe not. But it we can make the intrinsic evil of abortion look to be unthinkable in many many minds, the numbers of abortions will go down.

    Having said that, the road to abortion starts long before a pregnant mother pulls into an abortuary. It is the immoral push of society that is seeking the minds and bodies of our children at younger and younger ages. As sex is more and more promoted and also the fallacy of “safe sex”, there will be unwanted pregnancies.

    At the very least as we bring the knowledge of personhood of the unborn to the voters, we might be able to prevent some of these unwanted pregnancies from ending in the murder of an unborn child.

  • Yan

    Troy,

    I appreciate your framing of the moral issue and juxtaposing it against our legal situation. Of course you are right that the fetus is a human being [whether we support personhood amendments or not, we here all agree on that]. As you say, it follows that any law permitting abortion, even if it restricts the ease or speed with which an abortion can be procured, does not rise to the level of meeting God’s requirement that human society is morally obliged to forbid the intentional taking of innocent human life. Our pro-life laws do not succeed at accomplishing that.

    However, the rule of law prevents us from doing any better. And personhood amendments, no matter how well-intentioned, will not accomplish the goal of outlawing abortion either, because they are all unconstitutional. The states cannot decide for themselves who is a person and who is not. There is not a single justice that believes that the Constitution was written with the idea that a fetus is a person entitled to the full protection of the law.

    Personally, I agree with that judgment of the meaning of the Constitution. This is why we need a constitutional amendment–a personhood amendment for the entire nation, not for a state. But of course, this is politically impossible at present. So that leaves us in the grip of the moral dilemma you originally proposed.

    There are only 2 moral solution that I can think of. The first is the solution which those that followed Jesus to the crucifixion lived: we continue to publicly witness to the injustice of our laws in protest as this nation sends its innocents to be crucified for the selfishness of men, which they believe to be for the common good. So did the pharisees and chief priests believe about the death of Jesus. But I do not believe God judged Mary and the women and John who followed Jesus to the cross because they did not take up arms against the soldiers in order to prevent the crucifixion of God. Had they attempted to do so, their efforts would have been in vain.

    The second solution is to do our best to hold back the hand of the satanic slayer by whatever legal means are at our disposal. And that means, incrementalism in any way possible, with the goal of a full federal constitutional amendment protecting the life of every innocent unborn child.

    Such amendments have been proposed a number of times in the Senate, where the Constitution says they must begin, and have never received the required 2/3 vote. This is why voting for pro-life Senators is so important!

    Troy thank you for all your work and may God continue to bless you and operation rescue. I believe you are doing the most important work in terms of action in the public square that can be done at this moment in the history of this country.

    Regards,
    Yan

  • Yan

    Sorry–my previous post should have referred to Brian Cross #30, not Troy.

  • http://mnlafrancis@natel.net Mary LaFrancis RN retired

    As a violinist (viola) partly by the Suzuki method, I am fully and well aware of the personhood of the unborn, by whatever definitions, names, or terminology.
    Part of the Suzuki method is to play music for the unborn child, say an hour a day. After birth, when the child is old enough to hold a little instrument, he or she begins to play…….
    The ability to learn and remember is known.
    As a delivery room nurse I continued to be amazed at the the uniqueness and individuality of each newborn child, their awareness and responses, “personalities”, facial expressions, etc………
    Not only common sense but scientific evidence would have us “get it” the PERSONHOOD OF HUMAN LIFE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING!

  • http://www.twitter.com/stevenertelt Steven Ertelt

    @William DeGaul Thanks for proving my point further.

    According to Keith and personhood amendment backers, the amendment is supposedly responsible for producing amazing results in turnout and motivating pro-lifers. If Colorado had a higher turnout of Democrats in 2010 compared with 2008, then the amendment clearly has not only no effect on motivating pro-lifers — but had us lose ground.

    With that kind of track record, having the amendment in any state in 2012 will help ensure an Obama victory and legalized abortion for decades more.

  • William DeGaul

    @Steven Ertelt Wrong again

    There’s a programing maxim which I think you would be wise to heed. Garbage in = Garbage out.
    Personhood in = Personhood out, weak kneed GOP in = status quo or worse.

    Regarding the turnout, your point seems to be circular.
    First you state that Personhood didn’t even pass in the most positive political climate imaginable. When I give proof that actually, the voter turnout was stronger for the Dems in 2010 than even in 2008, you accuse Personhood of depressing GOP turnout or increasing Dem turnout? That is just impossible logic, since if Personhood was the cause of a higher Dem or lower GOP turnout, then it would have lost percentage points, which did not happen.

    Here’s the main flaw in your analysis: what is the definition of a pro-lifer? Under your standard almost anybody can be considered a pro-lifer, so you get excited and claim great victories. What a surprise it must for you when those GOP politicians turn out to appoint pro-aborts, ignore the abortion holocaust and entrench abortion for another decade.

    Back to the computer maxim, garbage in = garbage out. Personhood gets 27 %, then 30 %, in 2012 ( and it will happen in 2012) 35%, and all the time we are educating and knowing for a fact that these numbers are true reflections of where we stand. You, on the other hand would tell us 51% of Americans are “pro-life” and then be sorely disappointed to find out that they are pro-life and happy with the ongoing genocide, in part thanks to a lowering of standards that makes it ok to be ineffectual.

    Colorado is changing the culture and converting people to be 100% pro-life.

  • Randy Crawford

    Attacking at the level of the Supreme Court directly, which is essentially what Personhood efforts do, was successfully done recently in Iowa. We got rid of 3 devious Iowa Supreme Court “Justices” who twisted and turned and used their offices cynically to commit a tort of contempt for justice– in perverting the Iowa Constitution– so as to (on paper) authorize homosexual marriage. An aroused and educated citizenry turned those 3 mistaken judicial figures out of a job, and the equivalent can be done in other states. Personhood efforts educate the public about what abortion actually is, and the more personhood efforts educate the public, the more the public will gravitate toward ending abortion and demanding the right political figures (at all levels)to do it. Slavery wasn’t ended in a campaign cycle or two. It took broadly-based citizen to citizen education over many years, plus a civil war. Abortion mills’ lies have been so extensive for so long it will take a protracted effort to overcome them. Personhood efforts are for the good, and electing competent politicians is for the good. Just electing a governor here or there who is against abortion won’t work unless the corresponding legislature also does the right thing, and it takes grassroots understanding by the voters to get the theoretical good legislature to back the theoretical good governor, or good Congress for a good President IF we ever get one. If we put all the eggs in any one basket of effort, abortion interests like PP will know exactly where to attack. The more challenges PP faces at a time, the less successful they will tend to be. We need to all work in our areas of excellence at all levels against abortion and the abortion industry. We don’t need to waste our efforts fighting one another and thus helping Planned Parenthood.

  • Susan Sturch

    Great points made by “Randy Crawford” in #39 & #60!
    Thank you Randy Crawford!

  • Jose Guillen

    If a Personhood Amendment can’t be ratified, it means the electorate do not yet truly want to criminalize the killing of the pre-born. People want what they want, all the rest is just hot air. You people have been talking since 1973, and you *still* haven’t figured anything out, as measured by any practical result. 37 years, and counting.

    When childkilling becomes more uncomfortable to the average voter than a society of sexual restraint would be, then people will vote to recognize the personhood of the preborn child; not until then. Right now, as things currently stand, most voters are not uncomfortable enough with the current childkilling status quo to vote to change it. It may be that there is no way to make them uncomfortable enough, either — I honestly don’t know — but until they are, you are just talk-talk-talking pointlessly.

    .

  • Randy Crawford

    William DeGaul makes some excellent points. It is correct to assert that microanalyzing election results and playing numbers-juggling games can be extremely deceptive. There are so many variables, and interactions among variables, plus the environments change over time– so that a few percentage points up or down here or there from one election to another will just as likely have nothing to do with the dynamics of the next election. Relying on simplistic numerical analyses re the past is like the adage about generals frequently trying to fight the current war according to tactics developed in the last war. While the enemy is imaginatively developing new methods, over-reliance on history alone allows the other guy to change history-in-the-making going into the future. It is important to not focus on narrow interpretations, but rather be resilient, imaginative, and fight the enemy in many ways– particularly by developing new approaches for which they are unprepared. History is very important, but it needs to be applied to the big picture and new tactics, not into circular inbred dead-end thinking that presumes to magically know what “can’t possibly succeed” without first putting effort into the enterprise. Nothing works like trying, and nothing succeeds like working at working. The harder you work, the luckier you get. Turning the same predictable crank over and over is the surest way to help one’s meddling adversaries set up their usual ambushes of Lies, Infiltration, Espionage, and Sabotage with or without media involvement. Surprise and novelty tend to be much better weapons for catching the enemy off-balance.

    I have witnessed operations and style and paperwork processes to oppose abortion-murder in many states. Colorado Right to Life, and Coloradans in general, have some of the best people, principles, commmitment, and hard work that there is to be found anywhere in America to stop the abortion mills. They have built up a network of hard-working people over the years, and that type of grassroots networking is the main platform that needs to be built across America so that an effective campaign can be launched for Personhood or anything else that will wake people up. If Obama can take murderous garbage and make it fly with community organizing, the least that decent angelic altruistic people can do is to match the devil’s advocates with better community organizing for establishing civilized standards.

    Biologically, the human brain contains lower regions programmed for animal-instinct selfish activities. The higher brain regions, i.e. frontal lobes behind our foreheads (the part missing in chimps and monkeys, to give them the back-slanted foreheads) are what make humans humans, and give us intelligence and a sense of altruism that is found only rarely in lower species. Corresponding to ancient religious terminology, understood centuries ago before science made the concept anatomically specific, the angels of our natures reside in the frontal lobes, and the devils of our natures reside in the more primitive brain regions we share with apes and other wild animals.

    It used to be in earlier decades that with religious education and a better schooling system overall, the abilities of the frontal lobes were cultivated and educated so as to override the simple vicious animal instincts toward murder, theft, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, lying, and other selfish tendencies. The past few decades, with education being sabotaged by active conniving and passive neglect, the poorly-trained angelic frontal lobes in too many millions of citizens aren’t being prepared to overcome the baser devilish animal instincts that too many people are born with.

    Thus, too many people are degenerating into a habit of being shortsighted, selfish, and stupid– as directed by their unrestrained animal instincts. They demand easy lives and instant gratification, and a political structure to provide endless handouts, drugs, and birth control pills to keep the easy life going forever. Crooked politicians and church leaders have been only too happy to oblige, buying votes and collection plate offerings by promising the immature voters and parishioners whatever they want, with no regard for tomorrow’s consequences as to debt and immorality.

    It is starting to become increasingly obvious that piling up debt and dead baby bodies has severe consequences. Meanwhile many millions are in denial, and trying to point fingers elsewhere. Until citizens are educated as to how to be more human and less like savage animals, i.e. how to use the frontal lobes to override primitive instincts in the lower brain, the problems will continue to degenerate further. Ertelt’s newsletter and similar newsletters help preach to the choir, because 95% plus of the readership is already against abortion. So such newsletters are useful at keeping us informed in-house, but they aren’t moving the ball down the playing field. To score more goals, we must develop new tactics that awaken and educate a larger and larger segment of society. Personhood efforts, and gory abortion street signs, and letters to the editor, and talking to your neighbors, and teaching young kids in grade school, and lobbying with clergy to be bold, are all methods of religious and secular proselytizing that can elevate brains-in-training above their devilish urges, so as to be more in line with our angelic potentials. But it will work only if the educational information is transmitted to the frontal lobes of millions of Americans who are currently out of touch and languishing in a 21st-Century Dark Age. Newsletters strengthen the converted, and efforts like Personhood recruit more converts, so both are beneficial for saving more babies.

  • http://www.hallemccartney.com Halle McCartney

    As soon as a baby is conceived and growing in a woman’s womb it is most definately a person!! I don’t know how that fact can even be disputed!! Anyone who denies a living baby the rights of all people as citizens in this country is an ignorant and very evil person!! I hope that someday soon, the legalized murder of innocent babies will be repealed!! Our children are our future and it no person’s right to play God and decide who gets to live and who should die!! Every life that God creates has a purpose!!

  • Mark Aughenbaugh

    I think that Ed Hanks has done the best job of conveying the truths about this debate.
    I firmly believe in the personhood efforts and disagree strongly with the incrementalism arguments because I believe that they do undermine our premise that the preborn child is worthy of the same protection afforded to every other person.
    I’ve been involved in prolife activism for over 26 years and I still believe that the main problem is a lack of repentance beginning with the church leadership and flowing down through the professing believers.
    This was abundantly evident in Colorado as very few pastors & churches got involved with promoting the ammendment. We were kicked out of both large & small church parking lots for distributing personhood lititure and most pastors would not give us the time of day. They have givin in to the appeals of the masses Isa. 30:10,11. They heal the wounds of the people superficially as in Jer. ch. 6 & 8. Christians that really believe that we have an obligation to intervene on behalf of our preborn nieghbor, and encourage others in this are made to feel less comfortable in these churches than the men & women who go there on Sunday after aborting thier own child on Saturday.

  • Bogdan Popescu

    I think both proposed solutions (Personhood amendment and electing pro life politicians ) are premature. With only 30% pro-life voters the amendment cannot be passed and no politician can impose a law with so few sustaining. I think the best thing to do now is to educate the people because there are still many people who believe the pro abortion lies (that the unborn baby is only a blob of tissue or a part of the mother’s body). They need to be educated to understand that the unborn baby is a NEW PERSON since the CONCEPTION. It is useful to start with pastors and teachers who can pass it on. Only when the people is educated regarding to this issue and we have a better percentage of pro-life people would be realistic to do a political action.

  • Michaela Dasteel

    How about the Attorney General of Virginia bringing a lawsuit to block IVF on the basis of the personhood of the embryos being “created” and culled (PGN)in petri dishes and put into frozen orphanages? Or how about the genetic tests that are now being done very early on pregnant women’s blood to detect cystic fibrosis. Eight percent of those women abort if the tests show a strong possibility of their child carrying the disease. That’s eugenics! The court that just blocked Obamacare in Virginia might be friendly! Personhood can be fought for at many different levels. Lawyers, get creative! Go around Roe – talk about the humanity of children in petri dishes outside the womb! Find friendly lower courts and go for it!

  • Michaela Dasteel

    CORRECTION: Eighty percent, not eight percent of children diagnosed with abnormalities in the womb are aborted. Eight percent of Down’s Syndrome etc.

  • Michaela Dasteel

    In my rush to write before leaving for work, made a logical error. The genetic testing in the petri dish is the achilles heel. Not in the womb. Petri dishes aren’t covered under Roe. Wombs are.

  • Bogdan Popescu

    I would like to add something to my comment.
    Because educating the population is a long time thing someone might ask: What to do until we have the required majority to pass an amendment, let the children be killed?
    I think that until then the most realistic solution is to save one life at a time how do some pregnancy centers (like Care Net) which offer counseling and alternative solutions for those headed to abortions. I also think that the drop in the number of abortions is due more to their work and less to political action.

  • Greg Wagner

    Both camps in this debate are strongly in favor of
    protecting the sanctity of all human life. We are, as Pope John
    Paul II said, “doing the greatest work on earth”. John Paul II also
    reassured us many times to “be not afraid”. To stand in opposition
    to Personhood because of a fear that it may fail, may be good
    strategy in a secular battle, however, this is a battle of immense
    spiritual proportion. As such we are called by God to do all we can
    to protect all human life from the moment of conception. It is only
    Personhood and Personhood alone that will allow us to eventually,
    with the help of God’s grace, to reach that goal.

  • Len Reynolds

    It is a sad day in America when we can not agree that the
    best time to end the merciless killing of innocent preborn babies
    is immediately. The men leading this country possess not the
    character of the men who found it. I truly wonder what their
    debates, if held today, would consist of? We have several problems.
    First, as a nation we had become comfortable back in the 50’s and
    60’s. The economy had been positive and robust and climbing for
    several years, resulting in a deeply seeded complacentcy. The
    church (the people of the church) became complacent as well. this
    is how we allowed solialist teachers and instructors to infiltrate
    95% of our colleges and universities resulting in the reshaping and
    reprogramming of the minds of our enrolled youth. In many cases,
    stripping them of their religous upbringing and replacing it with
    pure humanism. Secondly, we as church, have lost the moral
    arguments in the election process by allowing moderates and
    liberals dictate what is “politically correct and tollerant” by
    sitting back comfortably and doing nothing. 1960’s Madelyn Murry
    O’hair has God removed from our classrooms and public places. This
    is where the line that separated right from wrong was erased. Where
    was the church? This, in turn, paved the way for the socially
    acceptable yet wicked laws that would follow through our courts
    until the moral character of our great constitution has been
    depleted. Next in the 1970’s came Roe vs. Wade, the repealing of
    sodomy laws, gay marraiges. What is next? Where are we going to
    stop the madness? I say we need good men to do everything God has
    given them the strength to do and educate everyone on all the
    scientific fact surrounding abortion. Then we will
    prevail.

  • Rose Leon

    Abortion doesn’t need to be regulated, it needs to be banned. In California, pot dealers are trying to get regulated and taxed, to gain legitimacy. Regulation proffers undeserved legitimacy on abortionists. Murderers (other than abortionists) don’t get regulated, they get incarcerated. Parental consent laws (as well as other incrementalist laws) play into the hands of pro-aborts by saying that abortion is OK unless the mother is a minor whose parents aren’t notified. Regulation is approval of legalized abortion, with narrow exceptions.

    The issue is personhood, not choice. Everyone knows some choices are wrong, and taking the life of an innocent person is wrong. If pre-born children are people, then they must not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Due process of law requires an individual to be tried in criminal court and convicted of a capital crime before being given the death penalty. No one recognized as a person gets the death penalty for being declared “unwanted” by another person. The issue is personhood.

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  • randy crawford

    From Ohio Personhood, we see the recent Mississippi Personhood effort cost the coffers of Planned Parenthood blood-money barons plenty. As more and more states implement Personhood campaigns, the abortion mill profits shrink accordingly across America. It may be that by making their bottom line low enough, the unsatisfied greed of abortion doctors will drive them out of their slime pit at the bottom of the medical barrel and on to specialties where they earn more by NOT killing kids. With Personhood pressure already inducing Planned Parenthood to make visible cut backs, that’s more cuts to their staff and fewer cuts to the babies. Good. Here are the numbers for what PP recently had to spend in Mississippi:
    —————————————————-
    Personhood Adversary Unveiled

    The Mississippi Secretary of State website includes the financial data of “Mississippians for Healthy families” which has been the chief opponent of the Mississippi Personhood Amendment.

    The donations received up until October 31 include:

    $209,000 from Planned Parenthood Action Fund – New York
    $524,000 from Planned Parenthood Federation of America – New York
    $34,000 from Planned Parenthood Southeast – Atlanta
    $28,000 from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
    $5000 from Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina
    $5000 from Planned Parenthood of Hudson, New York
    $50,000 from Planned Parenthood of San Jose, California
    $10,000 from Planned Parenthood of Illinois – Chicago
    $5000 from Planned Parenthood of Middle & Eastern Tennessee – Nashville
    $10,000 from Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts – Boston
    $ 3100 from Planned Parenthood Chapters in Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota
    $21,000 from Planned Parenthood in Shasta, California
    $17,000 from Planned Parenthood of St Louis
    $7000 from Planned Parenthood of Seattle
    $4300 from Planned Parenthood Chapters in Florida
    $5000 from Planned Parenthood of Utah
    $5000 from Planned Parenthood of San Diego, California
    $86,000 from Planned Parenthood chapters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, North & South Dakota, Oregon, Washington State, and California
    $20,000 from the American Civil Liberties Union – New York
    $10,000 from the Mississippi ACLU
    In addition, they received over 80 small contributions from individuals from out of state; however, only six from individuals in Mississippi.

    It appears that Mississippians for Healthy Families IS Planned Parenthood.

    I wonder who “Healthy Families Ohio”, an opponent of the Ohio Personhood Amendment, is?

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