On December 14, 2011, Personhood USA announced through a press release that three 2012 GOP candidates have committed to the personhood of unborn children. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. House Representative from Minnesota, Michelle Bachman, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gangrich have all signed the personhood pledge. Then just today, Texas Governor Rick Perry also signed the pledge.
For those of you not in the loop on the personhood movement, I will direct you right to the source itself, Personhood USA. Below is a clear statement of what personhood is and included is the actual personhood pledge.
From Personhood USA,
Personhood is the cultural and legal recognition of the equal and unalienable rights of human beings.
When the term “person” is applied to a particular class of human beings, it is an affirmation of their individual rights. In other words, to be a person is to be protected by a series of God-given rights and constitutional guarantees such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This terrifies the pro-abortion foes!
They know that if we clearly define the preborn baby as a person, they will have the same right to life as all Americans do!
This then also begs the question, is every human being a person?
There is a very real sense in which the need to answer this second question is, in itself, an absurdity.
If you look up the word "person" in your average dictionary (we'll use Webster's), you'll find something like this: "Person n. A human being."
A person, simply put, is a human being. This fact should be enough. The intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, makes them persons, and should, therefore, guarantee their protection under the law.
Personhood holds the key to filling the “Blackmun Hole,” a startling admission in the Roe v. Wade majority opinion:
In 1973, the science of fetology was not able to prove, as it can now, that a living, fully human, and unique individual exists at the moment of fertilization and continues to grow through various stages of development in a continuum until death.
However, pick up any embryology book today and you will find that your life and every person’s life began at fertilization.
If the Court considers the humanity of the preborn child, it could end this age-based discrimination and restore the legal protections of personhood to the preborn.
For nearly forty years, however, this has not been the case. The situation we are left with is that, in America, there is a group of living human beings who have no protection under the law and are being killed en masse every day. It is truly astounding, but not wholly unprecedented.
Throughout history, certain people groups have felt the brunt of a system which denied their humanity, stripped their personhood, and subjected them to horrors beyond measure. While the legal framework that made such horrors possible has now been removed, it remains firmly in place for preborn Americans.
There remains one, and only one, group of human beings in the United States today for which being human is not enough. The inconvenience of their existence has resulted in this shameful injustice.
What is a person? A person is a human being at every age.¹
PERSONHOOD REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PLEDGE
I __________________ proclaim that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and is endowed by our Creator with the unalienable right to life.
I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.”
I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise. I recognize that in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.
I oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and procedures that intentionally destroy developing human beings.
I pledge to the American people that I will defend all innocent human life. Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited.
If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development, and to the best of my knowledge, I will only appoint federal judges and relevant officials who will uphold and enforce state and federal laws recognizing that all human beings at every stage of development are persons with the unalienable right to life.²