by Nathan A. Cherry, 09/15/2011
Martinsburg, WV – When does life begin? This seems to be a question many analysts – both political and otherwise – are engaging. How would you answer the question? Would it be easy to define life and when it begins? There has been general consensus for some time that life begins at the point that heart and brain activity begins. If this is truly the case then we would have to conclude that life begins somewhere between 5 and 7 weeks gestation for an unborn child. And if we establish this conclusion we would have to also admit that many abortions are performed on living children and are, therefore, murder.
One group believes there is a way to end abortion and establish that life indeed begins at conception. The new hope for ending abortion is called the “personhood” movement.
Maybe you’ve heard of the personhood movement. It has in recent years made headlines in Colorado as they’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a personhood initiative. For those that have not heard of the personhood movement it is defined, simply, as a movement designed to define life as beginning at conception and, therefore, all unborn children from conception to birth are persons deserving all the rights and protections of any other person. You can clearly see how this movement would effectively end abortion. By declaring that life begins at conception so all unborn children are persons it would be illegal to perform an abortion on a living child at any stage of development.
It’s no secret that many people, whether religious or otherwise, believe that life begins at conception. I for one believe this to be true. After my own studies and the experience of seeing two kids born I can say without hesitation that life begins at conception. Others don’t quite share this view.
Whether you agree or disagree, the personhood movement is gaining steam and is poised to win its first major victory in Mississippi in November. A recent article shares the details of this possible groundbreaking victory:
“This November, Mississippi votes on the personhood issue by popular referendum. The results will gauge whether the movement is a powerful new front or a fringe strategy destined to fizzle. Regardless of how Mississippi votes, however, the personhood movement is worth tracking for two reasons. First, it’s sparking a debate among pro-lifers about the efficacy of the movement’s traditional, incremental approach. Second, by challenging Roe’s premise outright, the personhood movement is seeking out a legal conflict that could well make its way to the Supreme Court.”
You see, ultimately the personhood movement wants to end up at the Supreme Court where it can challenge the very language or Roe v. Wade by asserting that the personhood of every unborn child at the moment of conception demands protection and rights afforded to every living human being. Certainly this is a long shot, but personhood proponents are okay with taking that risk.
Perhaps more exciting is the implications of passing the personhood amendment in Mississippi later this year. Three thoughts have been given in conjunction with this bill’s passage:
“First, the personhood movement is part of a broader strategy of expanding fetal rights to address aspects of the pro-life agenda that fall outside the scope of abortion…Second, even if a personhood amendment would not immediately outlaw abortion, it could set in motion a series of appeals designed to ascend to the Supreme Court…Third, even if they don’t succeed at this strategy, personhood activists still see such amendments as a means to wage a national campaign of ideas.”
Personhood proponents really don’t see much of a downside to the vote in November. They believe that, win or lose; they will be the winners in the long run as the personhood movement gains national attention and gains momentum needed to advance in other states.
Is this the “next big thing” that could challenge Roe and ultimately see abortion eliminated in America? I don’t know. But the idea of seeing every person given the same rights and protections “from the moment of conception until natural death,” as Ronal Reagan once said in 1988, is exciting.
About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.