Pro-life and anti-personhood?

We at Parents Against Personhood take no position on elective abortion, because we believe there are valid reasons for both pro-choice and pro-life people to oppose personhood. Many organizations and individuals who consider themselves pro-life agree that personhood is the wrong strategy.

Not all do so for the same reasons, and not all share our concerns about protecting infertility treatment, lifesaving pregnancy care, and birth control. However, while personhood groups such as Personhood USA insist that the only way to be pro-life is to support fetal personhood, all of the pro-life groups below disagree with the personhood strategy while continuing to work to end elective abortion.

Pro-Life Organizations
The National Right to Life Committee, one of the oldest and largest pro-life organizations in America, opposes personhood because they believe it ultimately will harm the pro-life cause. Its general counsel, James Bopp, has argued that state personhood efforts are “doomed to expensive failure”, and that they may backfire by ultimately strengthening Roe v. Wade.

In Nevada, a joint statement opposing personhood was issued by Nevada Right to Life, Nevada Life, Nevada Eagle Forum, Nevada Families Association, and the Independent American Party. The statement explains that those groups believe that the proposed 2012 amendment will not overturn Roe v Wade, and that it will strengthen the powers of the courts and provide “political and financial windfalls” to pro-choice groups and candidates.

In Montana, which faced a personhood attempt in 2010 and may do so again in 2012, Right to Life of Montana opposes personhood. Wisconsin Right to Life directly opposes the 2012 personhood effort in their state, and encourages individuals and churches to actively oppose it as well.

Phyllis Schafly’s Eagle Forum calls personhood “a hurtful gimmick” which “harms good pro-life candidates”.


The Catholic Church declined to support Mississippi’s Initiative 26 on the grounds that “the push for a state amendment could ultimately harm our efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

During Mississippi’s Initiative 26 campaign, the presiding bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church also opposed personhood.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ official position on abortion specifies that abortion is permissible when the “good health” of the mother is at stake, and in cases of rape; both positions are in direct conflict with personhood, which does not permit exceptions for rape or maternal health.

Catholic bishops in Georgia and Colorado have opposed those states’ personhood efforts for strategic purposes. In the words of Bishop James Conley of Denver, “While we share the ultimate objective of this effort i.e., to legally recognize the rights of the unborn, we do not, however, think that this strategy will provide a realistic opportunity for reversing Roe v. Wade.”

6 Responses

  • Neil Baltazor says:

    Everything we do in life is a choice, except dying. It’s pro abortion. Let’s stop the political correctness and let’s call it what it really is!

    • Atlee Breland says:

      That is exactly the kind of thinking we reject. Feel however you like about elective abortion, because we don’t involve ourselves with that at all. We’re mothers and fathers who have fought to bring children into the world, and who have faced medical complications, or who want to plan our families responsibly. If you can’t support IVF, birth control, and care for pregnancy complications without being labeled “pro-abortion”… well, I think last year’s vote in Mississippi shows exactly how most people feel about that.

  • Nate says:

    Pro Abortion? Even the vehement of pro choice organizations don’t go around saying people should get abortions, they simply say that this is a personal decision and best left up to the individual. I’m sorry some people don’t believe the same twisted interpretation of their holy books as you do. If you guys actually want to end abortion, make birth control free, available to any woman, and remove the stigma of using birth control. Providing proper sex education would go a long way to preventing abortion, of course that’s obscene. When I was in middle school a 12 year old girl got pregnant. I’m sorry but with proper sex education that probably wouldn’t have occurred (she was in seventh grade, very rudimentary sex ed was taught in eighth.) Look, I recieved sex ed in eight and ninth grade, and was still a virgin when I graduated. I guess my point with that is that teens are going to do it, they may as well know what their doing, and sex ed isn’t going to make a teen go out and have sex.

  • Frank O Long says:

    If Life legally begins at Conception, here are a few questions:

    a. Who will sign the Conception Certificate?
    b. Will States be required to maintain a Registry of Conception Certificates?
    c. Will State or Federal funds cover the reprinting of all legal documents to replace the “Date of Birth” with “Date of Conception?”
    d. If a US Citizen is a sperm donor and the sperm is used by a foreign female to conceive, does that make the fetus a US Citizen?
    e. Will a Notary Public be required to attest to the validity of a video used to prove the Date of Conception?
    f. Will the video recording in “e.” above have to be made in the presence of a Notary Public?
    g. If a Notary Public is not required to attest to the validity of the Date of Conception, what are the stipulations required of other witnesses to the Conception?
    h. What specific data will be required to be entered on the Certificate of Conception, especially on the “long form”?
    i. Will the IRS permit a Dependent Exemption during gestation?
    j. Will the parent(s) be required to obtain a SSN for the fetus for income tax exemption purposes?
    k. Will the SSA issue a SSN to an interim John Doe or Jane Doe to be named after birth?
    l. Will the fetus be required to be listed on a guardian’s passport if traveling to/from foreign countries?
    m. Will a sonogram of the fetus be acceptable as a photograph on a U.S. Passport?
    n. Will Hallmark replace Birthday Cards with Conceptionday Cards?
    o. Will Conceptionday Cakes be used to celebrate at all future Conceptionday Parties?
    p. Will everyone automatically become nine months older if Personhood becomes legal?
    q. Will you be able to vote 17 years and three months after being born?

    Does anyone have any idea of how this proposal is going to be implemented and documented?

  • Kris says:

    What do you mean by pregnancy care?

    • Atlee Breland says:

      I’m referring to treatment for life-threatening pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy, cancer, early-onset preeclampsia, and the like.

      That includes medical management of ectopics with methotrexate as well as salpingectomy/salpingostomy. It includes pre-viability induction of labor for situations such as PPROM and threatened/actual infection. It includes treatment of pregnant women with cancer without regard for the effects of the chemotherapy or surgery on the embryo, and permitting them to terminate their pregnancies before beginning treatment if it’s medically appropriate. It also includes termination for situations like pulmonary hypertension, where it’s known that the woman faces a high likelihood of death or serious injury if she continues the pregnancy.

      We also support women’s rights to make birth choices which may result in higher risk to their babies, such as refusing C-sections or other medical treatment such as bedrest.

      Personhood raises very serious questions about all of these situations — questions which are completely ignored by personhood supporters who insist that “abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life”, in defiance of medical opinion.

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