Monday, October 1, 2007

Controlling the Language

A developing debate in Georgia highlights the importance of controlling language in the abortion debate, specifically with regards to the word 'Personhood':
Dan Becker, spokesman for the Georgia Right to Life, which is working on a state constitutional amendment that simply would declare that an unborn child is a person from the moment of fertilization, said the concept of personhood was pointed out by Blackmun in his original declaration of the right to an abortion, and it shows the legal precedent is living on borrowed time.

"It is important to bear in mind that the proposal establishes a constitutional principle; it does not enact criminal or civil legislation. And it establishes a constitutional principle that provides a direct challenge to the fundamental holding of Roe v. Wade," he wrote. "Without a direct challenge to Roe, any proposal to protect innocent human life from abortion is utterly meaningless."

Roe determined that "the unborn is not a person within the meaning of the law," he said, and that can be its downfall.

It was the Roe author, Blackmun, who concluded: "(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

"Thus, the personhood of the preborn child is the single point on which the entire debate turns," Becker said.



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