I’m a board member of Personhood Florida and the president of Personhood Florida Education. From the foundation of our organizations, we have tried to stress that we need more than just a Florida Constitutional Amendment
We actually need both state and U.S. Constitutional Amendments to protect life and marriage. We also need the state and federal governments to follow the 9th and 10th Amendments that we already have. It’s not a question of legislative initiatives “not working.” It’s a matter of moving biblically and constitutionally. Note that the U.S. Constitution contains no criminal laws, but just an organization of the three branches of civil government. The ability to pass criminal laws was for the most part delegated to the states. Neither the executive branch of the U.S. government nor the federal judiciary is given the authority to make law. Even the role of the U.S. Congress as the sole legislative branch is limited to certain functions. The intent of the founders was that the U.S. Congress regulate foreign and interstate domestic commerce and fund the military. They did not intend the federal government to override state and local laws.
So what we need is not simply a “legislative approach,” but a restoration of constitutional jurisprudence.
I am glad that more people are talking about nullification. I’ve advocated this since the 1990s. Personhood Florida was founded with the idea of nullifying Roe, not reversing it. It is going to take a ton of education of public policy pundits and our state legislators to understand this. In order to follow the Constitution, we don’t need to pass any additional laws. We just need to understand that state law is supreme in most instances over federal law.
The reason why incremental laws are troublesome to me is not even because they are incremental. It is because they codify into law exceptions that were not in our state laws prior to Roe. Abolitionists are talking about resistance and using arms if necessary. That will never happen. If the people’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution isn’t in place first, then we won’t ever resist. But violent resistance is unnecessary under our Constitution. Non-violent nullification ought to be an ordinary fact of life whenever the federal courts, U.S. Congress or president overstep their constitutional restraints.
So it’s a catch-22. We don’t nullify Roe because people don’t understand the Constitution. All that it would take would be a one sentence state amendment or law in order to get the job done.
We the people of the state of Florida are dedicated to the recognition and protection of the God-given, inalienable right to life of all innocent human beings as legal persons at every stage of their biological development.
What I don’t like is that people talk about legislation and resulting resistance to civil tyranny as only a means of ending abortion. It’s missing the forest for the trees. The reform we need is much more comprehensive than just resisting Roe. In fact, we’ll never be able to resist Roe without first a long campaign of education on how and why the legislative powers not described in the U.S. Constitution are delegated to the states.
There is a long history of Christian theology that shows how this method of decentralized government and anti-monarchist philosophy is based squarely on the Bible. America’s founders, even those who were not born-again Christians, self-consciously followed a Knoxian-Cromwellian model of resistance to tyranny — even while taking it a step further to codify a means of state nullification into both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
A Better Way to End Abortion in Florida
Personhood advocates need to understand two important realities about state abortion laws.
First, as long as states think they must follow Roe v. Wade as established law, there is no real restriction on abortion. Roe v. Wade together with Doe v. Bolton made it possible to kill a child in the womb through all nine months once certain criteria are met. The biggest “loophole” is the “health of the mother” in Doe, which includes “mental health.” So legally all a woman has to do is sign a piece of paper saying she has had thoughts of suicide and the doctor can concur. In fact, women seeking late term abortions are often coached to do this. Some states have further restrictions saying late term abortions must be done in a hospital setting or through a doctor that has hospital privileges. This is why putting “restrictions” on abortion while kneeling before the altar of Roe as “settled law” can never work. “Chipping away at Roe” is ineffectual as long as this “mental health” exception is followed.
This is the reason why I haven’t flown into hysterics over New York’s new “barbaric” abortions laws. This is already the case in every state throughout the country as long as we accept the judicial fiat “laws” of Roe and Doe.
Second, states can right now end abortion legally by doing three things.
1. Write into law or as an amendment that the life of all human beings at any stage of development must be recognized and defended. Some states actually have such Personhood language in their constitution and laws already. But too many people falsely believe Personhood is ineffectual under Roe.
2. Pass uncompromised fetal homicide laws or remove the exceptions in fetal homicide laws that protect abortionists. There have been people tried and convicted of murder for killing a preborn child. A few years ago, Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio was convicted of first degree murder for forced abortions on girls he had kidnapped. People who deceptively give pregnant women abortion pills can be tried for murder. There are many “double homicide” cases involving preborn children and their mothers. There is also a federal fetal homicide law that covers all 50 states. The problem is that these laws all have an exception that protects abortionists from prosecution.
3. Ignore or defy federal abortion-related cases that contradict state laws and state constitutions. Many states have “tenth amendment” resolutions and/or language in laws that command state officials to uphold state law over federal law.
Here in this video, Idaho state representative Heather Scott is doing just this. This needs to be the paradigm shift that all “pro-life” legislators throughout the country will adopt.
Please also see the links for The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset. This is short primer on doctrine of nullification, which has been one of the foundational tenets of the Personhood movement since its beginning. You may either order copies or I have posted all the articles that make up the booklet online for free.