In the last election (and for quite some time now,) many pro-life people stopped "voting pro-life" because they don't see
any real changes and that's it's made any difference. I think that Personhood Amendments will help pro-lifers to realize
that this issue is not dead and it's still worth fighting for, more than ever now with Personhood. The only way to ever get a
federal amendment going is to achieve it in a majority of states first. The last time anyone seriously talked about a federal
amendment (The Human Life Amendment) was during Reagan's term, but the truth is that it's very difficult to get a
groundswell for something on a national level like that.
If you go state to state with petition drives (or through the state legislature to get it on the ballot), then people become
invested with time, energy, prayers -- and their votes. And then they'll have an expectation that something will be done. If
the Supreme Court then rules against state amendments based upon the Supremacy Clause, and still refuses to
recognize unborn children as persons under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (even in the face of a majority of
states who recognize unborn children as person "in the full legal sense"), then you're going to have that groundswell from
people who have already been organized and feel cheated out of their votes. That's when the time and circumstances
would be ripe to bring a federal amendment, and we should also have more pro-life candidates in office by then because
pro-life voters would have been voting pro-life knowing that the issue is not dead, and even more people would begin to
It also brings the issue of the protection of pre-born human to the forefront of public debate, and I believe that when it's
debated, when people are educated, the pro-life cause wins.
Additionally, I believe that most pro-lifers would agree that we don't just want to see Roe v Wade overturned merely on the
grounds that the Roe Court (and Griswold Court) erred in finding a fundamental right to privacy under the U.S.
Constitution and a fundamental right to an abortion out of that reasoning, only to then toss the issue to the states to
decide whether to protect unborn children, but we want to see unborn children recognized as persons under the 14th
Amendment so that their right to life will be protected. And even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v Wade on
that sort of narrow basis, denying personhood under the U.S. Constitution, we want to have Personhood Amendments in
place at the state level so that the issue is already settled in order to avoid pandemonium with various petitions and laws
being proposed all over the place legalizing abortion with various standards and exceptions, and banning abortion with
various standards and exceptions. Ed Rivet, the lobbyist for Right to Life of Michigan, wrote a memorandum of law, "The
Status of Abortion in Michigan When Roe Falls," which painted the perfect picture as to why now is the time to act!
I want to afford others the same protection that I received. I'm not just going to say, "Oh well, at least my life was spared,"
and then be satisfied with mediocrity while millions of others who are similarly-situated are not afforded legal protection. I'm
fighting for legal protection for others and Personhood is the only way it will ultimately happen. Even if we get a majority of
pro-life justices on the Supreme Court, in order to find a right to life/due process/equal protection, personhood needs to
be recognized under at least a majority of the laws of this country. And that's part of what Personhood Amendments
state-by-state achieve. You need to know the legal background, but once you do, it's common sense.
Someone recently asked me, "Where does the (personhood) amendment state that no abortion may be permitted when
and where deemed 'necessary'? Where does the amendment protect against 'exceptions' even if elective abortions are
not permitted? Who would decide what those exceptions would be and when they would occur?"
Just because the Federal and state constitutions don't mention "murder" per se doesn't mean that it'd be perfectly legal
and constitutional for us to be murdered. What the Bill of Rights -- 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution says (and what
state constitutions basically mirror) is that "no person shall be deprived of their right to life . . . without due process of law"
and that "persons shall be entitled to equal protection under the law." This is Law 101. What this language means, is that
the government would have to ensure that we are all legally protected by passing homicide laws and/or through the
Common Law. So just because the Bill of Rights doesn't specifically mention murder, homicide or abortion, doesn't mean
that we're not fully protected as a result. Homicide laws exist BECAUSE OF the 14th Amendment. Abortion laws will exist
BECAUSE OF personhood amendments, which will make clear that the 14th Amendment and state constitutions' right to
not to be deprived of life and equal protections provisions apply to all persons, from the moment of fertilization.
If you have any other questions, please let me know and I'll add to this.
-- Rebecca Kiessling, Pro-Life Attorney/Activist