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Personhood: A Challenge to the Intellect

By Judie Brown

Prior to January 22, 1973, states had a patchwork of legal protections for the preborn, but nothing was consistent among the laws in the United States.

And then on that fateful January day in 1973 the United States Supreme Court wiped the slate clean by issuing a pair of decisions that made abortion legally protected across our land and for any reason whatsoever.

In order to turn those decisions around, the 10 people composing the leadership that was to become American Life League in 1979 knew that the Supreme Court had to be challenged on the single most crucial argument of the case, stated by the then-Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote that

“‘The word person, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.’ He came to this conclusion by asserting that ‘no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment,’ but conceded that if the ‘personhood of the fetus is established [the case for abortion], of course collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.’”

We understood the commonsense truth that has—even to this day—eluded so many people both inside and outside the pro-life movement. That is that every human being is an individual—a person created by God in His image and likeness whose life begins at his biological beginning. This is the only rational, truthful, and provable fact that can change the reality of what is still the law of the land in America.

So there was little to be surprised about when I read a recent article written by a medical doctor stating that “personhood policy is scientifically wrong.” She argues against a particular so-called personhood bill, and says:

HR 586 introduces the concept of embryo as human life and not simply the potential to become human life. This is scientifically unfounded; historically, these bills have been repeatedly introduced and have failed to pass. In addition to the intended consequence of banning abortion, the unintended consequences are severe restrictions on in-vitro fertilization.

To be sure, an embryo has the potential to become human life but should not be given the same moral status as viable human life.

First, to be clear, the author, Eve C. Feinberg, MD, is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has had three miscarriages, and has sought to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization treatments. So she has a personal interest in the misinformation she spews throughout this article. Second, let’s see where the previously quoted section of her article fails to pass the smell test.

1) The human being begins as a single cell embryo and is therefore a human person from the beginning, not a mere “potential” human being.

2) The intended consequence of any true and accurate human personhood legislative proposal is to identify every human being in accord with the Carnegie Stages of Human Development from his biological beginning as a human individual, thus intending to protect each and every one of them. The scientific evidence makes anything less than this erroneous.

3) After personhood is established in the law, legal protections would clearly have to include the ban of any action that results in the death of a human being prior to birth, including IVF and birth control chemicals and devices that can kill.

Dr. Feinberg is building her case not on science and fact, but on a false premise that makes her feel better about her personal experiences. I find it rather offensive that anyone would use a medical degree to sanction false science.

Of course the same could be said about statements made by pro-life organizations, including this from the 2017 March for Life’s “Life Principles”: “The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected from that human being’s biological beginning when the Father’s sperm fertilizes the Mother’s ovum.” Such language is just as flawed and unreasonable as the statements made by Dr. Feinberg!

To include ONLY those preborn babies who are reproduced sexually and to ignore those reproduced asexually is to deceive the public and travel down the same defective path that denies science in favor of politics.

It is rubbish!

Understanding and teaching the facts of personhood require total honesty from all parties. Personhood facts are only a challenge to the intellects of those who refuse to follow right reason on their way to arriving at the correct solution.


Join American Life League as we defend the truth by teaching it with our Culture of Life Studies Program, by showing others how to live it with our Life Defenders program, and when arming others for battle with our Stop Planned Parenthood International program.