Radical Personhood Amendments Within State Legislators

Radical members of the personhood movement are progressively moving forward in initiating personhood legislation within state legislators.  If personhood legislation is passed and enacted into law, reproductive health and individual liberties face severe threats.

Personhood amendments serve as modifications to a state’s constitution establishing a legal definition of what constitutes a person – granting those rights and protections.  If enacted, these initiatives will not only ban abortion in every instance but potentially prohibit women access to emergency contraception, birth control and in-vitro fertilization.

Below is a comprehensive list of states currently in the process of passing personhood legislation or in the initial stages of doing so. States are divided into three categories based on their potential to enact legislation into law:  1) immediate threat, 2) threatening, 3) possible threat.

Immediate Threat

North Dakota
The House has voted in majority favor of The Defense of Human Life Act – HB 1450.  The act recognizes a person beginning at the initial stages of development and entitles them to all unalienable rights.

The act now awaits vote in the Republican dominated Senate.  With nearly 75 percent of seats held by Republicans, there’s a serious possibility this bill will be enacted into legislation – making North Dakota the first state to pass personhood legislation.

Iowa
A state subcommittee has approved House File 153, declaring human life as beginning at conception.  The file affords the unborn the same rights and protections guaranteed to all Iowa citizens through the state’s constitution.

House File 153’s next step is to be sent to a full committee for vote.

Virginia
The House has just approved in majority favor HB 1440, defining human life as beginning at conception.

The next step is for the bill to go before the Senate for vote.

Threatening

Mississippi
The Mississippi Personhood Amendment has recently garnered enough signatures – 130,000 – to be placed on the 2011 ballot.  The ballot initiative defines persons as human beings from the moment of fertilization, guaranteeing them rights afforded to all citizens.

This is Mississippi’s fourth ballot initiative since 1992.  In 2005 and 2007, Mississippi’s Ultimate Human Life Amendment failed to garner enough votes to be placed on the general ballot.

Texas
State legislators recently introduced HB 1109.  The bill defines human life as beginning at the moment of fertilization and currently serves as an amendment to Texas’ Health and Safety code by recognizing unborn children as having rights and protections.

The bill now awaits vote in the House.

Possible Threat

Florida
State legislators have introduced the Florida Personhood Amendment.  The ballot initiative aims to define all human beings as persons under the constitution.

Currently the amendment has yet to attain any of the over 676,000 signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.  However, state legislators have the power to add the amendment to the general ballot for vote if no signatures are attained.

Montana
A personhood amendment was recently introduced into state legislation.  The amendment calls for persons to be legally defined through the state’s constitution and for the unborn to be given rights beginning at the moment of conception.

The ballot initiative must receive at least 100 votes between the House and Senate before it’s placed on the general ballot.

Montana has previously introduced personhood legislation, most recently in 2008 with the Montana Right to Life Initiative.  The initiative garnered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot during the general election but was voted down by over three-quarters of voters.

Oklahoma
State legislators have introduced a personhood amendment into legislation.  The specifics are currently unknown, but legislators are attempting to establish rights and protections for the unborn through this amendment.

Georgia
Senator Barry Loudermilk has announced he’s filing the personhood amendment titled Paramount Right to Life – SR153 – with the Georgia Senate.  The bill attempts to grant all inalienable rights to the unborn beginning at the first stage of biological development.

In 2007 and 2009, similar personhood amendments failed in the state legislature.

While it’s unbeknownst whether any state will be successful in its attempt to enact personhood legislation into law, it’s clear that three states – North Dakota, Iowa and Virginia – are in the most advanced stages of approving such legislation.

In attempts to stop personhood legislation from being enacted, opponents have called for court action against states attempting to redefine and change their Bill of Rights, calling the actions an invasion on people’s rights.

One Response to Radical Personhood Amendments Within State Legislators

  1. I have been so upset with the Republican Party’s campaign against reproductive rights that I have become an independent. I would return to the fold if and when the party abandons its anti choice stances on abortion, birth control and stem cell research. But, I don’t see it happening when I look at the present and potential candidates. Paul Gerhardt (gerhardtbooks@hotmail.com

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