Radical Personhood Amendments Within State Legislators

February 16, 2011

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


Stories You Should Know (7/7/10)

July 7, 2010

Washington Post (Washington, DC)
The Obama administration’s decision to move forward with a legal challenge to Arizona’s stringent illegal immigration law will almost certainly elevate the issue on the campaign trail this fall.

Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)
Gov. Joe Manchin has scheduled an 11 a.m. media-availability event Wednesday morning at the Capitol to answer questions about the process for filling Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s seat.

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)
U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk hit two of his fellow Republican statewide candidates Tuesday on tax-related issues that have been front and center in a pair of top Illinois races this year. Kirk said he doesn’t think it’s right that some candidates didn’t pay any income taxes last year or haven’t made their tax returns available to the public.

Arkansas News (Little Rock, AR)
The Senate Republican leader says a seat awaits U.S. Rep. John Boozman on the committee headed by Sen. Blanche Lincoln if the congressman unseats the incumbent Democrat in Arkansas’ November U.S. Senate race.

Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD)
As Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. hit the Maryland gubernatorial campaign trail with his new running mate Thursday, an image emerged of a modern suburban mom: a smart woman who has balanced raising children with an intellectually challenging career.

Stories You Should Know (7/6/10)

July 6, 2010

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV)
Sharon Angle’s campaign on Monday accused Sen. Harry Reid’s campaign of “dirty tricks” and breaking the law by posting a copy of Angle’s original website on the Internet without permission.  The Reid campaign responded by taking down the duplicate website after Angle’s lawyer sent Reid a “cease and desist” letter.

Politico (Arlington, VA)
Top West Virginia labor and business leaders are calling on Gov. Joe Manchin — who local Democrats say is highly interested in running for Senate — to reverse course and appoint himself to the seat held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Washington Post (Washington, D.C)
A revolt among big donors on Wall Street is hurting fundraising for the Democrats’ two congressional campaign committees, with contributions from the world’s financial capital down 65 percent from two years ago.

Washington Post (Washington D.C.)
The Justice Department has decided to file suit against Arizona on the grounds that the state’s new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA)
Senators McCain, Graham and DeMint question the GOP Chairman’s ability to lead after his remarks on the war in Afghanistan.

USA Today (USA)
Lincoln Chafee comes from a long line of Rhode Island governors, three in the previous four generations, all of them Republicans. Now the former Republican senator and mayor of Warwick is running for governor himself.

Stories You Should Know (7/2/10)

July 2, 2010

CBS News (Washington, D.C.)
As the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan drew to a close, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) shared “I was disappointed. I have to be honest. I felt she was less than open with us certainly, even less than candid.”  Her response to his questions on the subject “was so consistent with the White House spin.”

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)
House Minority Leader John Boehner today escalated a growing battle with Congressional Democrats and the White House, accusing the latter of “childish partisanship” after President Obama criticized him for remarks about the financial crisis.  “For someone who asked to be held to a higher standard, President Obama spends an awful lot of time making excuses and whining about others,” Boehner said at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
President Obama piled new pressure on Republicans on Thursday to support moves to fix an immigration system he said has become “broken and dangerous,” but key GOP senators showed little sign of being ready to cooperate.

The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.)
Even as some of the first pieces of President Obama’s health care reform legislation take effect, Republicans in Congress and conservative activist groups are still working to repeal or at least rewrite major sections of the legislation.  Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, is circulating a petition that would force an up-or-down vote in the House of Representatives on repealing the vast bulk of the estimated $940 billion, 10-year legislation the Democratic-controlled Congress passed this spring.

The New York Times (New York, NY)
Senator Robert C. Byrd made one last visit to the Senate floor on Thursday to allow his colleagues, staff members and the public to bid him a Capitol farewell after his death Monday at 92.  For decades Mr. Byrd had argued his case as he sought money for his poor state of West Virginia, challenged presidents, opposed the Iraq war and sought to uphold the traditions and trappings of the Senate.

Stories You Should Know (7/1/10)

July 1, 2010

Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
Independent voters now favor a generic Republican candidate for Congress over a generic Democratic candidate by 12 points, a trend that appears to be tied to their feelings about President Obama.

Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)
Speculation that Gov. Joe Manchin will call a special session to correct a discrepancy in state election law, in order to allow a special election this fall for Robert C. Byrd’s U.S. Senate seat, is apparently just that — speculation.

Stamford Advocate (Stamford. CT)
Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., doused water on the prospect of a comeback by him in the GOP Senate race against foil Linda McMahon in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA)
Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.), returning to his customary role as a maverick in Supreme Court confirmation hearings, said Wednesday he was “thinking about” voting against nominee Elena Kagan because of her less-than-substantive answers to his questions.

Stories You Should Know (6/30/10)

June 30, 2010

The New York Times (New York, NY)
Elena Kagan deflected questions about her own views on gun rights and abortion during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings yesterday, instead describing Supreme Court precedents. Ms. Kagan’s responses, during a long and sometimes tense day of parrying with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, were similar to those of Supreme Court nominees past, but unlike her predecessors, Ms. Kagan wrote a 1995 article calling for judicial nominees to be more forthcoming.

The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.)
House Republicans blocked a Democratic attempt Tuesday to extend unemployment benefits for an eighth time since 2008, saying they couldn’t stomach adding the $33.9 billion price tag to the deficit.

USA Today (USA)
The race for Ohio’s open Senate seat to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich, a Republican remains a tossup.  Democrat Lee Fisher has 42% and Republican Rob Portman, 40% — statistically unchanged from earlier measures in March and April, Quinnipiac reports.

The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.)
Less than a week after Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal resigned after making disparaging remarks about his civilian bosses, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Gen. Petraeus to replace him as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. The full Senate likely will confirm Gen. Petraeus in coming days.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA)
President Obama is making a renewed push for an immigration overhaul, possibly during a lame-duck session of Congress after the November election — when members would no longer face an imminent political risk for supporting it.  To date, no Republican senators have agreed to back a comprehensive immigration bill, nor has such a bill been introduced in the Senate.

Stories You Should Know (6/29/10)

June 29, 2010

Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
With a sedate Day One of Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation behind us, Tuesday is expected to be a bit livelier as the question-and-answer phase begins.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA)
The court’s 5-4 decision in the 2nd Amendment case paves the way for challenges to laws restricting gun ownership, but Justice Samuel Alito says it will not ‘imperil every law regulating firearms.’

General David Petraeus was tapped by President Obama to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week. The planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, along with concerns over the progress of the counterinsurgency plan in a country described as a place “where empires go to die,” will be front and center at Gen. David Petraeus’ confirmation hearings Tuesday.

Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
FBI agents arrested 10 people on charges that they spent years in the United States as spies for Russia, taking on fake identities and trying to ferret out intelligence about U.S. policy and secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials