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Personhood may be up for a vote in Georgia

Personhood may be up for a vote in Georgia

Georgia Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) has introduced Senate Resolution 420, which would authorize placing a proposed personhood amendment to the state constitution on the November, 2014 general election ballot. Personhood amendments claim that "persons" exist at the moment of conception. Personhood advocates believe that zygotes and blastocytes have constitutional rights, regardless of their viability or the circumstances of conception.

The resolution states:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.

Article I, Section I of the Constitution is amended by redesignating Paragraph XXIX as Paragraph XXX and inserting a new Paragraph XXIX to read as follows:

"Paragraph XXIX. Paramount right to life. This state shall recognize the paramount right to life of all human beings as persons at any stage of development."

SECTION 2.

The above proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be published and submitted as 14 provided in Article X, Section I, Paragraph II of the Constitution. The ballot submitting the above proposed amendment shall have written or printed thereon the following:

"( ) YES

( ) NO

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize the paramount right to life of all human beings as persons at any stage of development?"

All persons desiring to vote in favor of ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "Yes."

All persons desiring to vote against ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "No."

If such amendment shall be ratified as provided in said Paragraph of the Constitution, it shall become a part of the Constitution of this state.

In a press release lauding this resolution, Georgia Right to Life wrote that "If the legislature passes Senator Loudermilk's bill, it would then have to adopt enabling legislation next year spelling out the details of how the amendment would be implemented."  The group goes on to claim that:

The amendment with accompanying legislation would protect the life of the mother, permit the use of contraceptives that are not intended to cause an abortion, as well as in vitro practices that don't destroy excess embryos.

Such an amendment would also allow doctors to provide women with all life-saving procedures. Women would not be criminalized for an involuntary miscarriage.

The resolution as currently introduced does not address contraceptives or "involuntary" miscarriages. In 2011, Walter Hoye, a representative of Personhood USA, admitted to National Public Radio's Diane Rehm that personhood legislation could ban birth control pills.

Georgia Right to Life states on its website that "The historical Judeo/Christian understanding of the nature of personhood, foundational to our cultural framework, is being questioned. [...] Personhood.net is a subsidiary of Georgia Right to Life Committee (GRTL), a faith-based, non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose fundamental purpose is to engage in actions that will restore respect and effective legal protection for all human beings from the moment of fertilization until natural death."

Last year, Georgia enacted legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks.  NARAL explains:

Georgia's previability abortion ban outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Georgia amended its previous post-viability abortion ban to apply previability. The law now makes previability abortion after 20 weeks a criminal act, unless necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the woman or in the case of a medically futile pregnancy. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-12-141(c) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2012).

On December 27, 2012, RH Realty Check reported that this legislation was temporarily suspended by a state judge.

 

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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