NO On Personhood Amendment

Today’s Courier Herald Column.

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is
vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard
to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?”

This is a question that Georgia voters who chose a Republican ballot for the July 31 st primary will be
given a chance to answer. It is also the pretext for a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution,
routinely referred to as the Human Life Amendment or the Personhood Amendment. It is the new
litmus test for Georgia Right To Life in their never ending quest to divide the pro-life community in to
the Pharisees and the non-believers.

Some pro-life groups still allows for 3 exceptions – rape, incest, and life of the mother – as exceptions
one may believe in to be considered “pro-life”. Georgia Right To Life, beginning about the time
Republicans began attaining a majority in Georgia politics, moved the goal posts. A careful reading of
the verbiage above contains no exceptions.

Quite the contrary. It not only eliminates all exceptions but also formally expands the battle of those
who want to claim the most purity possible into opposition of in vitro fertilization. Those who are
actively trying to create life will be further burdened by reducing a viable and successful medical option
because of the number of embryos created in the process must be greater than those implanted to
ensure a reasonable chance of success.

Those following Georgia politics and the Right To Life issue should not be surprised by this expansion,
as GRTL President Dan Becker called 2010 Gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel “barren and infertile”
over the issue during the last campaign, going on to tell her that she was refusing to accept God’s will. It
remains a low point of Georgia political campaign history.

Had Georgia Right To Life not broken with the pledges most Republicans (and some Democrats) had
signed which allowed for three exceptions, there would be mutually agreed upon languages to build
legislation over, and work toward winning the hearts and minds of Georgians on this very sensitive
topic.

Instead, by moving the goal posts, those running the organization continue to have an issue, instead of a
solution.

National Right To Life’s website indicates that 62% of Americans support legal abortion in three or fewer
circumstances, those listed above. It also prominently notes that 93% of all abortions do not occur
under these circumstances.

If Georgia’s pro-life community were actually interested in saving lives by eliminating abortions
tomorrow, they would not be participating in quixotic escapades to demonstrate purity, but would
instead be crafting language that would eliminate more than 9 out of 10 abortions.

Instead of first seeking to find the common ground supported by a majority of Americans, they instead
seek to continue to divide the pro-life community among new lines. Georgians who want to get serious

about saving innocent lives should save the ones that can be saved today rather than pushing a position
that will never meet political or judicial muster.

Just last month, a 10 year old Newton County girl, the victim of rape and incest by her 19 and 21 year
old brothers, was discovered to be pregnant. In April, a 10 year old Columbia County girl gave birth.

What is less innocent about these ten year old girls than the innocent life that this amendment is
designed to protect? Why should anyone other than the child’s family in consultation with their own
clergy be allowed to make the decisions that not only affect the newborn, but the rest of the life of the
abused 10 year old?

The abortion issued used to have the mantra of “winning the hearts and minds”. The ballot question
regarding human life is designed not to win hearts, nor change minds. It is designed to divide.

Voters in Mississippi – who are generally aligned favorably with Georgia’s social conservatives – saw
through this charade and voted down a similar amendment when put before them last November.
Georgia voters should do the same.

Voting yes on this amendment will not save a single life. Instead, it will continue to enable leadership of
an interest group to pursue a quest for perfection that will never end.

Georgia voters should vote no on the ballot question for the Human Life Amendment.

61 comments

    • Blake says:

      It’s a Republican party question, like the nonbinding legislator gift limit that both parties have a variation of on the primary ballots.

  1. gsujohn says:

    Really…How shameless are these people? If Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, the placing of this amendment on the ballot is the last refuge of lunatics!

  2. shoshanna says:

    Little of what Charlie just said is true.

    National Right to Life PAC tolerates three exceptions but National Right to Life’s official position is “Life of the mother only.” There is a movement growing among National Right to Life affialates (4 at the current time and growing) that agree with GA RTL’s position . . . hardly fringe. Personhood is THE defining moral issue of the 21st century and represents a paradigm shift in human rights (see last week’s Newsweek article featuring this new movement.) Seems like Becker is on the cutting edge.

    GRTL’s lack of endorsement of Karen Handel was by no means a stand alone response. Susan B Anthony List, arguably the MOST pro-woman (ie Sarah Palin and other “mamma grizzlies”) FAILED to endorse Handle! Why? Why not? Glaring fact you have never dealt with Charlie. Please explain why?

    • John Konop says:

      Since we know 70% of teenage unwedded mothers end up on welfare, would this not be an unfunded mandate since we do not have the money today even without an increase ie Medicaid crisis, welfare…….? I am sure you know Medicaid is used for elderly, special needs, pregnant mothers and children. What is your plan for them?

    • republicaninJoJa says:

      Excellent response, shoshanna, and I thank you. You are 100% correct about National Right to Life and Susan B. Anthony

      David Brody of the Brody File and CBN News has written a book about what he’s calling the ‘TEA- vangelicals ‘! The mainstream media and some Democrats have seriously misjudged social conservatives’ impassioned engagement on fiscal issues, and President Barack Obama’s hopes for re-election could therefore be in serious jeopardy, according to CBN chief political correspondent David Brody. Brody, author of the new book “The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America,” told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview that conservative Christians may be a majority of the grass-roots conservatives generically dubbed the tea parties. Brody told Newsmax that he first became aware of the tea party-Christian nexus in 2009 and 2010, when he noticed prayer circles at grassroots rallies.

      Subsequently, polls showed that between 40 and 55 percent of tea party members are evangelical Christians – despite the fact that the tea parties focus on small-government, constitutional principles rather than pro-life, pro-family issues.

      “Here’s the shocking news for mainstream media,” Brody said, “and that is: Guess what, evangelicals are not a one- or two-trick pony. It’s not just about the life issue, it’s not just about the marriage issue only — they actually care about pocketbook issues.

      “What a shock [to the media] that evangelicals care about this type of stuff: They care about the future of our country and our grandchildren’s children and all of that. They care about what’s going in this country as it relates to debt,” said Brody.

      http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/brody-tea-party-romney/2012/06/21/id/443027

        • republicaninJoJa says:

          Charlie, there is nothing faux about the people who belong to Peach Tea Party.

          David Brody has done many interviews all over the country since the election of 2008 (and he is someone who’s covered Middle America, literally) by talking to average citizens and all of the Republican candidates who ran 4 years ago, to the present election. What did he discover? That within the tea party movement are social conservatives who aren’t narrowly focused on only fuscal issues. David discovered at the heart of those tea party people were Americans who valued life and marriage.

          We have the right to free speech, for now, and voting for Personhood is one of the beauties of living in Georgia. It doesn’t make anyone a Pharisee or the master over people by any organization they are involved with. It takes a lot of courage to take on MAG and all the liberal lobby firms that pound the tile at the Gold Dome with deep pockets and agendas that are contrary to Biblical principle.

          Sometimes the demons aren’t the obvious offenders. No one has to be your enemy, because sometimes they are placed at the center of what we value as individuals. Even Jesus Christ loved the Pharisees. Because after all Jesus was God, He already knew that it wasn’t anyone who placed Him on the Cross, it was all of our sins, past, present, and future.

          • Charlie says:

            Let’s start with the claim of the number of primary opponants this faux-life/faux-TEA party started with. They only got challengers in about 4 races, I think all had been announced before the group organized.

            Then lets talk about calling Rusty Kidd a RINO. He’s an independent. But that says more about the group’s general intelligence than it does about their genuiness.

            I will agree with you that sometimes demons aren’t the obvious offenders. Sometimes the worst sinners aren’t actually the confused girl who you call murderers. Sometimes it’s not the homosexual, adulterer, drunk, or person who just stays home on Sunday because he’s been turned off by judgemental Christians.

            Sometimes it’s those who seek to politicize religion to create kingdoms here on earth for power or profit. Jesus called them moneychangers, and he threw them out of the temple.

  3. fultonrighty says:

    Your comments are not surprising, Charlie. Your libertarian/social liberalism is coming out. Just wish you had stuck to the facts a bit more carefully.
    A thought on your 10 year old pregnant girl example–her brothers can easily cover their abuse of her and continue it with abortion. By carrying the pregnancy to term, they were exposed. I hope they pay the full penalty for their crimes! Despicable!!! Much incest, sexual abuse, forced prostituion is covered over by abortion-providers, as recent undercover videos have let us see. Also despicable!!!
    30 years of “finding common ground” has led to business as usual–1.3-1.5 million innocent human lives taken each year…and a huge number of women damaged physically and emotionally. Many (some say most) of them were coerced into abortion by boyfriends, husbands, parents.

  4. Harry says:

    We should vote Yes and continue the discussion at the state and national level. The baby doesn’t care about “exceptions” – it just doesn’t want it’s life to be ended.

    • Three Jack says:

      “The baby doesn’t care about “exceptions” – it just doesn’t want it’s life to be ended.”

      Re-worded — “The mother doesn’t care about lack of ‘exceptions’ — she (not it as you wrote and apparently acknowledge that ‘it’ is not a human yet) just doesn’t want her (again replacing ‘it’) life ended.”

      That’s better.

        • Three Jack says:

          If the ‘it’ doesn’t care about exceptions, she must.

          You have to be absolutely sick to force an innocent woman who suffered from incest and/or rape to carry an unwanted baby. Becker and his wacked out Westboroesque followers who attempt to force their will upon others through legislation are the liberals on this issue. Hopefully intelligent voters will follow Mississippi by voting down this attempt to restrict the freedoms of women in Georgia.

  5. Three Jack says:

    Beckerheads at it again! I’m w/saltycracker, which legislative genius put this in the hopper to be voted on?

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      Its your new powersharing agreement between the TEA party types that want to take over the Republican Party who will gladly allow the GRTL’s of the world to run roughshod over social issues. Neither really are into the other’s primary reason for engaging in politics but don’t either learn enough about their new bedfellows to see how bad they are for Georgia.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      I don’t see this passing the popular vote, but politicians putting controversial issues up on a ballot is nothing new. It’s a safe position to take politically, letting the people decide directly. It allows politicians to wash their hands of the ordeal.

      Sort of like Pontius Pilate.

    • dorian says:

      Technically, it’s an amendment to the constitution, so I’d have to be the Precious Adorable Newborn Little Baby Clause. As many times as the State has been sued for not taking adequate care of deprived children, I’m kinda surprised to see the legislature towing such a hard line. Maybe they could call it the “We don’t give a damn about them after they’re born, but we don’t want you to murder them” clause. No one would know which way to vote. It must be quite a dilemma up there in Atlanta. We don’t want abortions. We don’t want to pay for foster kids. Their cognitive dissonance must be in overdrive.

      • Blake says:

        Technically, it’s a Republican Party question. We’ll see if it turns into a proposed amendment or not.

  6. AMB says:

    Or Georgia could follow the Constitution and not make any laws restricting abortion which is legal in the US. And all you people could get your noses out of other people’s business and your panties unwadded.

  7. jbgotcha says:

    “And I think to myself…what a stupid wooorrrllld.” I’ve never felt more hopeless for humanity than I do now.

      • jbgotcha says:

        Not exactly. I just find it amusing that we have a crumbling infrastructure and America is on the economic decline and this is what we get riled up about. I think we are ultimately doomed for failure when I see things like this.

  8. mountainpass says:

    Yes let’s end the death penalty so murder’s(folks that break the law, be it natural or legal, take innocent lives) can live a full life and allow abortions so innocent(persons?) can die a short life?

    Side note:
    You are arguing persons? Whatever you want to call that embryo, it will be a person if a stimuli(natural or foreign) doesn’t extinguish that life form.

    • CobbGOPer says:

      “Whatever you want to call that embryo, it will be a person if a stimuli(natural or foreign) doesn’t extinguish that life form.”

      [Morbo voice]: STIMULI DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

  9. fultonrighty says:

    Point of information: The State Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party voted to put the Life Amendment and the other 4 questions on the primary ballot to guage the support of the grassroots for them. All are non-binding questions.

  10. saltycracker says:

    A Republican leadership committee voted to go with that question as worded……..
    Been a right wing Republican all my life & Independent looks less embarrassing every day….

  11. John Konop says:

    I guess it is clear no one who supports the Personhood Amedment can tell us how we pay for it. Does that make the supporters liberal or conservative?

    • Every decision has a financial and legal repercussion to it. Too often we do not consider those costs when passing legislation, though. I don’t have specific answers in terms of Medicaid/Medicare, but as I have personally advocated for pro-life issues, I have made it clear that those that support pro-life positions must also be willing to take it to the next level by carrying the burden in the areas of medical, adoption, counselling, etc. I am also of the position, though, that the government should not be doing the work of the Church. The Church has the responsibility of proclaiming the Gospel, not passing the buck onto the government to assume the role of controlling morality through legislation. I will be the first to admit that a weak Christian Church has led to the rise of a larger involvement of the government in terms of social and moral issues.

      • John Konop says:

        As you know on many issues we are fairly close in what we support. The biggest reason I like reading your comments are that you always keep it real! I am not for the cheapening of life with apportion on demand. Yet I do see that this issue is not as black and white as many make it. I find the loudest and most righteous on both sides scare me the most.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      It is amazing to me how some people believe it is government’s responsibility to pay for every child to be born, to grow up healthy, and to live a happy retirement.

      • James says:

        I assume you are making some sort of bizarre rhetorical joke, Joshua. You mean to tell me that you want to end a woman’s right to abortion with no absolutely no exceptions, but don’t think the government has any role in caring for the baby the woman was forced to have?

        How is abortion any less cruel than forcing a woman to have and to support a child without any assistance? Or, to put it in terms you probably understand a little better, why is it that little baby Jebus cries at abortions but smiles a little cherubic smile when a child is born into poverty and misery?

      • Joshua Morris says:

        This clearly demonstrates the absolute dependency we as a people have come to accept on the government teet. I think people should be expected to make responsible decisions about their sexual activity and accept the natural consequences of that activity. I think people should be expected to take care of their own children, which they chose through their own sexual behavior, rather than being allowed to expect the school to feed them and Medicaid to provide their healthcare. Being pro-life is not being pro-government services. Government has NEVER managed any entitlement efficiently or effectively. There was a day in America that communities would take care of their own. Now, we overpay government bureaucrats to do a pathetic job of taking care of the poor and middle class while wasting money on all sorts of unnecessary trips, buildings, furniture, electronic equipment, high paying positions for their friends, etc.

        The fact that we cannot manage to properly take care of our own does not diminish the value of a human life. This lame argument about the ‘costs’ associated with a life is a diversion from the basic principle of human value. I’m not interested in feeble remedies to symptoms when we won’t address the root problem.

        • Charlie says:

          And now you have done an excellent job of laying out the cognative dissonance of many “pro-lifers” on this subject.

          The child is innocent while in the womb. You want total protection for that child, regardless of if the sins of the parents included rape or incest. The child is innocent so it must be given the chance to be born, because the innocent child has that right.

          As soon as the child is born, you want to rail on the parents, say they should have responsibility, and it’s not your responsibility or the governments to take care of it. So, it’s on its own, innocent no more.

          You argue both of these at the same time, and can’t understand why pro-lifers aren’t winning the hearts and minds on this issue anymore.

          • Joshua Morris says:

            The opposing argument always brings up the rarest of cases, such as rape and incest. I’d be happy to start with addressing just the 90-95% of abortion cases that are carried out purely for convenience.

            I’m sorry that, in America, expecting parents to be responsible for the children they conceive is considered ‘railing’. Expecting me to take responsible for a human life, just because I stand up for its rights, seems simply ludicrous to me. Choices have consequences. If I am responsible for conceiving a child, it will be my responsibility to provide for that life.

            • John Konop says:

              ………..Expecting me to take responsible for a human life, just because I stand up for its rights, seems simply ludicrous to me. Choices have consequences. If I am responsible for conceiving a child, it will be my responsibility to provide for that life…………..

              Please help me understand the “choices” a sick poor 3 year old kid? Please help me understand the choices that a “special needs” person has when they get sick? Please help me understand the “choices” a working poor mom if they get cancer? Let’s keep it real! In all due respect you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. The “Ayn Rand Social Darwinism” that you support does not connect with the “Person Hood Amendment.” I have tremendous respect for Harry on this issue because he is intellectually honest about the situation. Serious your pants are really showing with this issue.

              • Joshua Morris says:

                Your response isn’t very clear, but I will say that no one I know is really against government help for people who are truly in crisis. You folks work really hard to go around the issue at hand. Talking about the few who have a real need for help and ignoring those who live irresponsibly while expecting government to prop them up is no way to solve real problems.

                • John Konop says:

                  Josh,

                  Medicaid is going broke and it is for poor children, special needs people and the elderly. You can spin it anyway you want, but all you really support is forcing a mother to have a babby and than giving the kid a death sentence if the kid gets sick. You do understand that kids do not pick their parents? I would hope you are not calling special needs people “irresponsable” because they need Medicaid? Finally the other portion of Medicaid is for elderly people mainly in nursing homes. I guess in your understanding of right to life that throwing old people on the curb is ok and would have no impact on their health?

            • Charlie says:

              “I’d be happy to start with addressing just the 90-95% of abortion cases that are carried out purely for convenience.”

              Except that every person who has ever said they’re for dealing with it this way, commonly known as triple exceptions, you call them murderers and then go back to a statement saying your principles are not negotiable, like so many others who are pro-life but won’t deal in the realm of what is politically possible.

              If you’re willing to move for legislation that allows those exceptions, then great. That would, as you say, elminate more than 9 of 10 abortions.

              Now please get the rest of your friends at GRTL to get on that and maybe we could actaully make a difference instead of just crowning the most pure.

          • DTK says:

            @Charlie

            I really don’t have a dog in this fight, but when you said “[y]ou argue both of these at the same time, and can’t understand why pro-lifers aren’t winning the hearts and minds on this issue anymore” this is wrong.

            Polling shows a huge upswing in the prolife position in relation to, say, 20 years ago. They’re not a comfortable majority by any means, but to say that pro-lifers haven’t done well in the intellectual debate over the issue is false.

            • James says:

              I don’t know whether I’d call it an “intellectual debate.” This is basically a religious issue. Given that the last 20 years of conservative discourse has pretty much been “hey, Christians, don’t you hate the gays and abortion,” I suspect you’re right that there’s been an upswing in the pro-life position among religious people. But I don’t know very many pro-choice women who wake up one day and say “you know what, I don’t want any power over my own reproductive choices.” And as our nation continues to liberalize–sorry, but it’s true–the pro-life movement will hold less sway.

              • DTK says:

                @James

                Polling doesn’t show that, however. It’s not just a bunch of old white fundies who consider themselves pro-life; support for restricting abortion is up amongst younger people too. It’s true that there still isn’t much support for an outright ban, but support for support for other restrictions (e.g., late term abortions, parental notification) is much higher than 20 years ago.

                http://www.gallup.com/poll/154838/pro-choice-americans-record-low.aspx

                • John Konop says:

                  DTK,

                  In my opinion many people have not thought out what they are for and against relative to policy. Tea Party I am against big government but for Medicare. Joshua I am against abortion but if the kids get sick and die it was their “choice”. I could go on and on……………… Policy is not black and white……………

                  ………Tea Partiers may say the government is too damn big, but when it comes to at least two federal entitlement programs, they sing a wholly different tune.

                  In a McClatchy-Marist poll released this week, 70% of registered voters who identify with the Tea Party opposed making cuts to either Medicare or Medicaid — the government-run health programs for the elderly and the poor — to help reduce the nation’s deficit. Meanwhile, only 28% of tea partiers said they’d be willing to cut spending on those two programs.

                  Tea partiers were not alone in opposing Medicare and Medicaid cuts. An overwhelming 80% of all respondents said they opposed such cuts, with a majority of every demographic measured in the survey lining up against them.

                  Ninety-two percent of Democrats opposed cutting Medicare and Medicaid, as did 73% of Republicans, and 75% of independents……..

                  http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/poll-70-of-tea-partiers-oppose-cuts-to-medicare-medicaid.php

    • John Konop says:

      I think Josh is a well meaning guy. The problem is To many like him do not understand the talking point positions are like playing checkers in a chess match when debating policy. As you know life is way more grey than black and white.

  12. dorian says:

    I support whatever plan lets me keep more of my own money. And I like checkers. Them horsey things in chess confuse and scare me.

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