[Here's a guest post from Beach Peanuts on the resurgence of Personhood in Florida. -ABLxx]
Defeated once before in Florida, the issue of Personhood is making a comeback. In spite of defeats in other states as well, Personhood Florida plans to push for another “fetal personhood” amendment in 2014.
“Personhood” holds that a person exists at the very moment of conception. Not only does it ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, but it would even ban contraception, in vitro fertilization, and could even interfere with cancer research.
A petition to get a Personhood amendment on the ballot would require 676,811 signatures. Despite previous opposition from even anti-abortion supporters because it was too extreme, one big supporter is Senate President Mike Haridopolos who signed a petition last year. Given the numerous draconian abortion bills that have made their way through the legislature the past couple of years, it’s hardly a stretch to predict that others may soon follow suit.
According to the head of Personhood Florida, the group already has representatives and volunteers in every region of the state.
The group is currently working toward gathering that first ten percent of signatures. According to Pastor Bryan Longworth, head of Personhood Florida, supporters contacted over 12,000 churches across the state in the month of January alone.
The group will also soon unveil an “automated, direct-mail, robo-call type of campaign to reach out to people we believe are pro-life and give them an opportunity to sign the petition,” says Longworth. That campaign is set to start within the next month.]
[A personhood measure in Mississippi received a considerable amount of support and media attention. Though the amendment ultimately failed on the state’s November 2011 ballot, the attention it received has been a boon to other personhood affiliates.
“There has definitely been a big change,” says Longworth. “We have probably quadrupled the number of volunteers we have in the state right now. We have volunteers actively calling pro-lifers, churches, collecting signatures…that has all come about as a result of the publicity surrounding Mississippi. Even though it wasn’t successful, it still had a tremendous role in raising awareness of Personhood.”]
[Longworth says his group would still like legislative support, which would likely lend more strength (and popularity) to its initiative.
“We have continually been seeking legislators that would be willing to put forth personhood-compliant bills,” says Longworth, adding that one bill, sponsored by Rep. Van Zant, “is similar, but it’s not 100 percent identical.”
The above mentioned Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights), who has served as a pastor of several churches recently pushed an abortion bill that would make it a felony to perform an abortion except when a physician meets very specific circumstances.
The war on women by Republicans and their religious extremist counterparts rages on.
[You can find Beach Peanuts on the Twitters or at her eponymous blog]