‘No’ on ‘personhood’ question

Posted on July 17, 2012

Savannah Morning News, July 17, 2012 by Charlie Harper

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?”

This is a question that Georgia voters who chose a Republican ballot for the July 31 primary will be given a chance to answer.

It’s a non-binding question. However, it is the pretext for a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution, routinely referred to as the Human Life Amendment or the Personhood Amendment. It is the new litmus test for Georgia Right To Life in their never-ending quest to divide the pro-life community into the Pharisees and the non-believers.

Some pro-life groups still allows for three exceptions — rape, incest and life of the mother — as exceptions. One may believe in them and be considered “pro-life.”

But Georgia Right To Life, beginning about the time Republicans began attaining a majority in Georgia politics, moved the goal posts. A careful reading of the verbiage above contains no exceptions.

And, it not only eliminates all exceptions, but adds opposition to in vitro fertilization. That’s because the number of embryos created in the process must be greater than those implanted to ensure a reasonable chance of success.

Those following Georgia politics and the right to life issue should not be surprised. GRTL President Dan Becker called 2010 gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel “barren and infertile” during the last campaign, saying that she was refusing to accept God’s will. It remains a low point of Georgia political campaign history.

Had Georgia Right To Life not broken with the pledges most Republicans (and some Democrats) had signed, which allowed for three exceptions, there would be mutually agreed upon language on which to build legislation. Then lawmakers could work toward winning the hearts and minds of Georgians on this very sensitive topic.

National Right To Life’s website indicates that 62 percent of Americans support legal abortion in three or fewer circumstances, those listed above. It also notes that 93 percent of all abortions do not occur under these circumstances.

If Georgia’s pro-life community was interested in saving lives by eliminating abortions, it would be crafting language that would eliminate more than nine out of 10 abortions.

Georgians who want to save innocent lives shouldn’t push a position that will never meet political or judicial muster.

Just last month, a 10-year-old Newton County girl, the victim of rape and incest by her 19- and 21-year-old brothers, was discovered to be pregnant. In April, a 10-year-old Columbia County girl gave birth.

Why should anyone other than the child’s family, in consultation with their own clergy, be allowed to make the decisions that not only affect the newborn, but the rest of the life of the abused 10-year-old child?

Voters in Mississippi are generally aligned with Georgia’s social conservatives. They saw through this charade and voted down a similar question last November. Georgia voters should do the same.

Charlie Harper lives in Atlanta and edits the Peach Pundit political blog.


Posted in: Georgia