Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) said Thursday legislators in states such as Mississippi, Ohio and Texas are taking “an extreme and radical step” by proclaiming that life begins at conception. She also called the personhood amendment “divisive” and “dangerous.”
Wasserman-Schultz denounced the proposed personhood laws in a conference call with reporters, “For the vast majority of Americans including people on both sides of the abortion issue, this is an extreme and radical step,” she proclaimed, according to CNSNews.com.
Wasserman-Schultz said that reproductive health is “intensely personal” and state lawmakers are inserting themselves in private matters with the law.
“The effort by the far right [is] to pass these so-called personhood amendments – divisive, dangerous, and destructive laws which would cripple a woman’s right to choose, limit access to birth control, and put the lives of women with difficult pregnancies at risk,” she said.
The personhood amendment declares that human life has been created the moment a human egg has been fertilized. If passed the amendment would thereby make all forms of abortion and emergency contraception illegal.
The amendment has indeed been the source of debate on both pro-choice and pro-life side.
In a statement to The Cypress Times, the Montana Catholic Conference refrained from support the amendment because “leading pro-life legal experts have expressed concerns that state personhood amendments might trigger an appellate process.”
However, pro-life proponent and former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline told The Christian Post that it is indisputable that life does begin at conception. Kansas is also considering a personhood amendment.
“It’s a scientific fact that human life begins at conception,” he asserted. “They have unique DNA at that time.”
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations has endorsed the science behind the personhood amendment.
In a statement the group asserted, “The Christian Medical and Dental Associations recognize fertilization or ‘the functional equivalent thereof.’ Its (the group’s) purpose is to protect life, regardless of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction,” the group stated.
Kline said even those who believe in personal choice acknowledge life begins at conception, referring to National Organization for Women former President Patricia Ireland’s 2009 Fox News statement. In an interview with host Bill O'Reilly, she said, “I think that immediately upon conception there is life. I don’t think there is any question about that.”
A personhood amendment is being proposed in Wasserman-Schultz’s own home state.
The Florida amendment states, “The words ‘person’ and ‘natural person’ apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, health, function, condition of physical and/or mental dependency and/or disability, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
She told reporters she is sounding the alarm bells in order to dissuade voters from signing the petition need to put the bill on the 2012 ballot.