Paul Broun Invokes The Spirit Of Martin Scott; Introduces “Personhood” Bill

“The evidence is clear that life begins at conception. We need to enshrine it in the Constitution. Now is the time. Georgia is the place. Let us vote and let them live.”

-Georgia State Representative Martin Scott (R – Rossville) speaking before the House Judiciary Committee advocating for H.R.536, the proposed constitutional amendment that would define “personhood” as the moment fertilization occurs.

U.S. Represenative Paul Broun (R – GA) and five of his Georgia Republican colleagues in Congress have introduced a similar bill at the federal level that would seek to do the same thing as state Rep. Scott’s legislation. Congressman Broun says House Resolution 4157, the “Sanctity of Human Life Act”, would “define life as beginning with fertilization, and declare that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person. [It also declares that] the life of each human begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent… at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”

The independent blog, “That’s My Congress”, has expressed concerns that if passed, the legislation could lead to a complete ban on in vitro fertilization.

…under Paul Broun’s proposed law, all fertilized eggs would have full legal protections. If an in vitro fertilization process created 15 fertilized eggs for a couple, 8 of which could survive as healthy infants if implanted, then all 15 fertilized eggs would have to be implanted, including all 8 viable ones. Those eggs would be human beings with full legal rights, after all. So, either the couple would have to have all 8 children, or they would have to find seven other woman who would be willing to adopt their fertilized eggs, going through pregnancy with these children that weren’t their own, and then raising those children to adulthood.

These financial and other practical requirements for in vitro fertilization would end the availability of in vitro fertilization for couples in the United States. Even American couples who went to Canada to have the procedure done could then be charged as murderers upon re-entering the United States.

That makes H.R. 4157, in effect, a bill to ban in vitro fertilization.

Source: 5/10/2008 That’s My Congress blog “Republicans Try To Outlaw In Vitro Fertilization”

The so-called “Sanctity of Human Life” Act currently sits in the House Judiciary Committee. Six Georgia Republicans including Jack Kingston, Lynn Westmoreland, John Linder, Nathan Deal and Phil Gingrey co-sponsored the bill.


  1. kandrew says:

    As a resident of the 10th District, I am embarrassed by Paul Broun on a daily basis.

    Not only can the guy not utter a coherent sentence, he comes up with the most loony legislation the House has ever seen.

    This bill is just another act of zealotry to put a stamp on where life does or does not begin. Dr. Broun tries to legitimize his view by saying that he’s a doctor. But as a common household physician he’s got about as much understanding of the subject as I did after passing AP Biology in high school.

    He’s trying to ban Playboy from our military bases overseas. He claims its indecency and a shame that those fighting and dying for our country would have the moral weakness to give in to the temptation of an airbrushed, naked woman. I won’t even get in to how this bill is an insult to our troops who deserve all the comforts of home they can find while serving halfway around the world… or a total violation of the 1st Amendment (maybe the good representative should read that pocket constitution of his one more time)

    I just want to know when my representative will be a grown-up Congressman for once. When he’ll tackle real issues facing this country and quit looking more moronic than his cronie Ron Paul.

    The guy is an insult to his district and an insult to human intelligence.

  2. drjay says:

    all the libs in athens that made a point of going to the polls to vote for the good dr. is much more ironic than vernon jones signs over a matress warehouse…

  3. Dan Becker says:

    I applaud Representatives Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, Lynn Westmoreland, John Linder, Nathan Deal and Phil Gingrey, along with 49 of their House colleagues for their farsighted leadership on this important subject.

    kandrew may resort to name calling when referring to Rep. Broun’s medical credentials (which are impressive) but how does he explain Rep. Gingrey’s co-sponsorship? Gingrey is a gynecologist and imminently qualified to assess the need for this type of legislation.

    Our courts are demanding clarification on this important issue. The question that we increasingly face in the 21st century is “What legal rights does a human being have under our Constitution simply because IT IS human (pre-born or otherwise)?” This question takes us well beyond IVF technology and the 20th century issue of abortion . . . it speaks directly to the challenges that our culture faces as bio-medical technology seeks to re-define “homo-sapien” through human experimentation and genetic enhancements (H+) that will benefit those most able to afford it.

    Transhumanism (a philosophy) and it’s step-child, Eugenics is the emerging battleground of ideas for our time. It is no longer enough just being pro-life, but we must also be pro-human and this demands that we identify Constitutionally when a human becomes a human life with full legal protection under the law (anyone seen the movie The Island?) . . . medical science is in FULL agreement on this subject . . . it occurs at the moment of fertilization.

    Engraved on the wall of the Jefferson memorial are these words from our country’s founder who said, “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

    Let’s not be Luddhites in our thinking. Law must keep pace with science.

  4. Dan Becker says:

    As far as “completely banning IVF”, this is an ABSURD charge and simply a “strawman” which the opposition has introduced to scare the people. Louisiana passed a very similar “juridical personhood” bill ( TWENTY-TWO years ago. It has withstood the test of time and all legal challenge and IVF clinics in Louisiana are flourishing with no significant cost increase to the clients. “Where’s the beef?”

  5. Rick Day says:

    Would this mean that a criminal investigation is mandatory every time a fetus does not come to term?

    What should be the penalty for the woman if she miscarries after 3 weeks?

    Will birthdays now be celebrated at the moment of conception? Just HOW do we know WHEN that is?

    You pro-illegal abortionists sicken me. Stay the hell out of our bodies, dammit!

  6. Donkey Kong says:

    “Stay the hell out of our bodies, dammit!”

    That’s what the fetus said right before the tweezers tore off its head.

  7. Rick Day says:

    DK, with all due respects, you are a damn liar.

    fetuses can not talk, can not think and can not feel.

    Quit with the ‘save the children’ bullsh*t, DK. I will not be lectured to by someone who hinds behind the moniker of a video game character.

  8. Rick Day says:

    DK, with all due respects, you are a damn liar.

    fetuses can not talk, can not think and can not feel.

    Quit with the ‘save the children’ bullsh*t, DK. I will not be lectured to by someone who hides behind the moniker of a video game character.

  9. Tommy_a2b says:

    Andre, Dr. Broun did this last year also before Martin Scott.

    kandrew, this legislation was not Paul Broun’s idea. Ronald Reagan pushed this along time ago. So make sure you tell everyone how emabarrassed you are of Ronald Reagan too. You will be super cool with all you liberal friends then.

    Rick Day, as we say here in the South, Bless Your Heart.

  10. kandrew says:

    Yes, Tommy this legislation was Paul Broun’s idea… hence the reason he wrote it.

    As a Catholic, I am vehemently against abortions. The US government should pursue the actions in order to ensure the well-being of all American children born and unborn.
    However… this legislation throws any concern for the health of the mother out the window, does raise serious concerns about the future legality of in vitro fertilization, and serves as a poorly hackneyed definition by people driven more by Christian jihad than by scientific evidence.

    My embarrassment at Dr. Broun’s actions stem, not only from this bill, but from his continued pursuit of idiotic legislation. When the rest of Congress is trying to tackle the issues of rising food prices, the falling dollar, soaring oil, and the housing crisis, Paul Broun isn’t.
    He’s more concerned about our fighting men and women looking at pornography. He’s more concerned about doctors not being allowed to prescribe pot to their patients. He’s more concerned about not fighting for the Campbell Center in Watkinsville because it might look like an earmark… because the jobs of his constituents are less important than him looking like a hypocrite.

    Ronald Reagan did support this measure… and on the whole, I’m a big fan of President Reagan. But. Ronald Reagan didn’t see fit to marginalize himself to the point of lunacy. Representative Broun is slowly but surely becoming one of the fringe members of the US Congress, on par with your typical loons like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

    And Dan I’d love to lambaste you on relying on Hollywood movies to develop an idea of what the future holds. (I’m guessing I shouldn’t support the space program out of the fear that aliens will devour our astronauts?)

    Also, before you tout the Congressman’s medical credentials, ask him why he’s not allowed to have private practice in the state of Georgia. Or why “addictionology” is not a recognized field by the American Medical Association.

  11. Harry says:

    Coming off mother’s day it’s hard to comprehend a mother killing her baby and using “its my body” as a rationale for their selfishness. Those mothers are worshiping something meaningless, like pagans when they offer up their children for sacrifice to the golden calf of hedonism, or gaia.

  12. Tommy_a2b says:

    kandrew, I think you are misunderstanding the legislation. I recommend you have a Constitutional Lawyer explain it. Or contact Rep Martin Scott. It is a large misconception that this legislation criminalizes abortion. As it was explained to me it does not do that. It would be follow up legislation and the courts that would define the criminallity. Also this was not Dr. Paul’s idea. for it to have been his idea Reagan could not have supported it unless Dr. Broun is the one who brought the idea to Reagan.

  13. kandrew says:

    Tommy… the idea presented in this legislation was written by Dr. Broun therefore this bill is his idea. The notion of creating a state of personhood at conception is not new nor unique. However, Dr. Broun’s rehashing of the same tired bill is uniquely his.

    This legislation is intended criminalize abortion, albeit not directly. With this law in place, Dr. Broun wants to constrain the courts to a definition presented in this legislation. Again, I have no problems with trying to put an end to abortion… but no one is taking into account the health of the mother and her right to ensure her own well being. By granting personhood to a zygote or blastula, you’re all but requiring that the baby be carried to term even if it will be born with serious defects or kill the mother in the process.

    If you want to name single-celled organisms living beings, why is spraying Lysol on a countertop to kill bacteria not considered animal cruelty?

  14. Kandrew, there is a difference in bacteria on a countertop and human life. At every stage of development, human life is not to be treated as bacteria on a countertop.

    Sadly, your ontological differentiation in the value of bacteria and developing human infant life equivocates infanticide and pesticide. Perhaps you need to look somewhere else for an epistemological revelation of cosmological standards instead of your current existential whoopee cushion.

    You are currently hurting all things around you because you are mistakenly placing incorrectly depreciated value on the most beautiful particulars in creation.

  15. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Hats off to the congressman.

    By introducing such legislation that panders to a narrow and moronic segment of the voting population…he definitely distracted them from what really matters in our district.

    He, again, is distracting people with religion. Nevermind that people are losing their homes and jobs…nevermind that the people of the tenth have some of the worst school districts in the south…nevermind that gas in nearing $4/gallon…because the real threat, as seen through the eyes of Paul Broun, is abortion and reframing the debate.

  16. kandrew says:

    Agreed GWC.

    Martinluther, a human being is far more valuable than that of a bacteria. What makes the “personhood” of a blastula more important of the life, health, and well being of the mother? This legislation implies that the zygote is far more important than health concerns.

  17. kandrew says:

    And the big point I’m trying to make is that Paul Broun has not sought about dealing with pressing current issues. He hasn’t said a peep on the housing crisis, he hasn’t said a peep on oil prices, he hasn’t said a peep on education.

    The 10th District has some definite needs, Dr. Broun hasn’t done a darn thing to care for them. He’s more concerned with with snooping out the al-Qaeda cells he alleges are based right here in Georgia. All he cares about is fighting his holy war on abortion, porn, and gosh-darned illegals.

  18. heroV says:

    Does this mean I could get an extra tax exemption at conception? If you are talking about full rights and equal protection under the law, wouldn’t that follow? If you are expecting a child conceived now, he/she could be born in ’09. The extra tax relief that an additional ’08 exemption would bring would be helpful.

  19. jsm says:

    “fetuses…can not feel.”

    Rick, this statement demonstrates pure ignorance.

    “He, again, is distracting people with religion.”

    Which religion is that, GC?

  20. Jane says:

    I have mixed views. While it is politicially valuable to have this vote, I think abortion is best fought at the local level. If PB thinks the drug war should be fought locally not nationally, then the fight for life should be a local issue as well. I might still vote for Paul, at least he has guts.

  21. Romegaguy says:

    Next he’ll try to outlaw Playboy magazines on military bases so that soldiers cant masturbate

  22. Holly says:

    Jane, I agree. Either you’re a strict constitutionalist or you aren’t; you can’t be one on a part-time basis.

  23. Steve Ellis says:

    The idea that a personhood amendment ignores the health of the mother is a common, although incorrect, objection. This amendment would recognize the personhood of an unborn child, including all rights that go with it, but it does not in any way reduce the personhood of the mother.

    There are already standards of care in place to deal with competing life issues. In the event the health of the mother is in danger because of the presence of the life within her, doctors would then have to exercise these standards of care in determining treatment options, recognizing both the mother’s and the child’s rights to life.

    The law as it stands today elevates the mother’s rights far above the child’s rights so that the child can be killed if it simply upsets the mother that she is carrying the child.

    The mother’s “health” as defined in Doe v. Bolton can mean anything she wants it to mean. As a result, the unborn child has no rights at all under our current law.

  24. Goldwater Conservative says:


    I obviously mean one of those made up versions of born-again christianity…regardless of the religion, however, there is no room for that garbage on capitol hill.

  25. jsm says:

    GC, there are references to God all around Capitol Hill and on surrounding buildings and monuments. Is this the “religion” that you say there is no room for? Our Founders didn’t think so.

    Broun is referencing the same God that our Founders did, whom they called our “Creator.” Religion has nothing to do with this. The ignorant equating of God with religion is only a ploy by those who wish to remove any mention of Him from the public arena.

    Pushing one’s morals is one thing, but protecting life is another. And yes, I believe that a group of human cells which is splitting and improving toward the ability to live independently outside the womb constitutes life, which has the right to be protected.

  26. Goldwater Conservative says:


    frigtard, as I have heard, should be a new nickname for you.

    Creator does not refer to that imagined being in the sky known as god. I have said it a million times, as had Jefferson and Franklin and…well most of the federalist in their personal diaries and comments about this country. The creator is human reason…our ability to rationalize and use logic. Not god.

    And no…the monuments are not the garbage that I refer to. Some of them are rather brilliant works of art. The garbage I am refering to is the religious rhetoric used to garner political support from people who do not know any better.

    Joe Schmoe from Franklin county usually has a tough time balancing the check book. He knows absolutely nothing about tax policy or our nations fiscal and monetary policies. In other words, Joe Schmoe does not know what government policies are good for his wallet and his families bank accounts. What is attractive though: a candidate that spouts out garbage about guns and god.

    Has our creator abandoned us?

    Has human reason gone out the window because of partisan politics and the race to the bottom?

  27. Icarus says:

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