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Would the Florida Personhood Amendment ban birth control?

The following person wrote to express her concern about the proposed Personhood Amendment:

I am very pro-life but I cannot in good conscience vote “yes” on this.

I take birth control for medical reasons. I have been married for over 11 years and want nothing more than to have a baby. However, due to medical problems beyond my control, I MUST take birth control to ensure I have a monthly menstrual cycle. If I don’t take birth control, I do NOT get my period and have suffered from hemorrhaging that almost killed me, anemia, scar tissue build-up on my reproductive organs, etc.

If this group would at least eliminate the proposed ban on birth control from the language of the amendment, I would support it. However, as is, they do not have my support.

Posted by: Maureen on September 30, 2009 1:07 PM

The proposed ballot initiative defines a “person” and a “natural person” as a human being “from the beginning of the biological development.”

The language of the amendment says nothing about birth control.

This is what this amendment will say when it is eventually passed:

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.

For information on how to download and circulate petitions go to http://personhoodfl.com/ On the petition form itself is the language of the amendment.

How did this “ban birth control” distortion get started in Florida? The media asked Dr. Patricia McEwen at a press conference in Tallahassee on September 11, 2009, if the amendment would ban abortifacient birth control because some think estrogen-based birth control pills work by causing an embryo not to implant in the wall of the mother’s uterus. Dr. McEwen correctly explained that it would first need to be established which forms of birth control are abortifacient and which are contraceptive. As an experienced researcher with a PhD, Pat said she believes that this is far from a settled issue. The latter portion of the statement didn’t make it into most news reports.

The next day we saw headlines around the state of Florida with this nonsense proclaiming that the amendment would “ban birth control” and grant human rights to a “fertilized egg.” This was dishonest reporting and it even made many pro-life advocates confused about the amendment’s language.

Obviously, if and when the abortifacient nature of certain types of chemical birth control can be demonstrated, there would need to be better and safer methods prescribed. In fact, the therapy Maureen is describing might be able to be done with progesterone, which does not affect implantation. On the other hand, estrogen is often used for contraception, but it may also affect implantation and cause spontaneous abortion.

Additional study and legislation would be needed to define legal contraception and hormonal therapy as methods that do not kill a human being. Such methods are already available that are much safer and more reliable than methods that may cause spontaneous abortion. Hormone replacement therapy for example is seldom prescribed now because of the complications involved. These dangers, mostly cardiovascular (heart attack or stroke) are also true of the “pill.” It is simply not a “safe” method of contraception. In fact, natural methods are safer and more reliable if used correctly.

The language of the Personhood Amendment simply does not deal with this question. It just tells us what the legal definition of a “person” is.

Commentary

Most Americans would ban most abortion on demand because it is the killing of a human person. This is supported by biblical law, but even natural law supports this view. It has been demonstrated through intra-uterine photography, fetal photoscopy, and now with 3-D and 4-D ultrasound, that a “person” is a human being from the beginning of biological development.

A “person” is described in the United States Constitution and all state constitutions as having inalienable rights given to us by our Creator God. Still we needed an amendment to define blacks and minorities as “persons.” Now we need to define all human beings as persons at their biological beginnings. And we must begin to do this state-by-state until enough states are on board to pass a federal Constitutional Amendment.

“All human beings are persons from the beginning of biological development.”

Memorize that phrase and repeat it as often as possible!

It is a mistake to let the other side define the language of debate. We can win by emphasizing what most people in most states already believe — that all human beings are persons at their biological beginnings. I am excited about Personhood because I believe that this is the way we will eventually win. But I am discouraged to see the language being shifted by the pro-aborts to emphasize “birth control” and “fertilized eggs” instead of keeping the emphasis on the definition of a “person.”

An embryo is not a “fertilized egg.” This is an oxymoron. An embryo is a tiny biologically developing human being. In any case, the language of the amendment speaks only about the beginning of biological development. It doesn’t deal with questions about contraception, implantation and whether biological beginnings must be observed. The gist of the language must be interpreted to mean that when we are certain of biological beginnings, then this tiny human being must be considered a person.

It’s simple language and that is the reason for the distortion. The pro-abortion media are the lap dogs of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. They get their talking points directly from them. They know our language is powerful and that is why they are trying to distort it. They know where the public is moving on the issue of developing human life.

And they know we will win with this language!

The way to begin to create a culture of life is to affirm the personhood of a human being from the beginning of biological development. Forget the “life begins at conception” or “life begins at fertilization” argument. Forget about “fertilized eggs.” Forget discussions about abortifacient birth control. We can’t legally determine the moment of conception for every individual — at least not at this point in our scientific and medical knowledge. And if we could ever determine this, a law regulating abortion shortly after the moment of conception would continue to be almost unenforceable due to the lack of visible evidence in most cases.

While it is a biblical truth that life begins at conception, the civil law is constrained to operate on a much narrower parameter. And practically, elective abortions are never done until we know that life has begun — at six weeks and later – long after the “little one” in the womb shows compelling signs of biological development. The issue of abortifacient birth control is another issue. RU-486 is another issue to be regulated by specific laws. It’s related to the implications of such an amendment, but the amendment does not even address that idea. The amendment simply says that when we can discern the beginning of the biological development of a human being, then that is a “person” according to legal definitions.

It is an incremental step in that regard.

Feel free to use any or all of the above when countering this media myth. Please help us to circulate over a million of these petitions. We need over 600,000 valid signatures from registered voters to get this on the ballot. And be prepared to help us counter the distortions. There is a big fight coming! We pray it will have a peaceful outcome.

Your comments are welcome!

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