The pro-life movement includes people and organizations working in a variety of ways to protect women and unborn children and to find the most effective and fastest solution to ending abortion. However, it appears one element of the pro-life community is targeting another for disagree with its strategy.
Backers of personhood amendments, according to a writer at Town Hall, are targeting pro-life candidate for defeat when they dare to rely on a different strategy to stop abortions as quickly as possible. Conservative writer Rachel Alexander says personhood amendment backers targeted for defeat lawmakers in North Dakota — who had longstanding pro-life voting records — merely because they opposed a personhood amendment as a wrongheaded strategy that would not actually stop abortions.
Alexander, a pro-life attorney who has spent decades in the pro-life movement in Arizona, provides the details:
The tactics being used by those in the personhood movement are ruthless; the “end justifies the means” actions usually championed by the left. North Dakota State Senators Gerry Uglem (R) and Curtis Olafson (R) understood that personhood legislation is a strategy doomed to failure. In 2009 and 2011, both Senators opposed a personhood bill on the basis that it would harm, not help, the pro-life effort to prevent abortion.
After responding to a survey sent to them by a rogue local chapter of National Right to Life, their answers were changed when the survey results were reported to the public, falsely portraying them as pro-abortion. The individual responsible for the dishonest survey joined with his father and together they contributed $6,000 to Olafson’s opponent, an unheard of amount for one family to contribute to a North Dakota Senate race, particularly a primary race. Personhood USA contributed $1,000 to his opponent.
Campaign mailers were sent to Olafson’s district accusing him of being pro-abortion and stating that abortion would be illegal in North Dakota today if not for him. This foolish statement shows a complete lack of understanding that personhood legislation would be immediately challenged in court, would never become law and would indisputably be struck down as unconstitutional. Furthermore, the ND Senate voted 28-19 in favor of the motion to table the bill. Nothing can be done in a legislative body unless you have the votes to do it. Senator Olafson had the support of the majority of the ND Senate to defeat the bill.
As Alexander notes, both lawmakers had already voted for a legitimate method of banning abortions in their state once Roe is reversed.
Senators Uglem and Olafson both voted in favor of a “trigger ban” anti-abortion bill in 2007, which would ban abortion in North Dakota the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. Nevertheless, Personhood USA successfully targeted Olafson this year when he ran for reelection, causing him to lose his primary race to a personhood proponent. The organization issued a press release gloating over the defeat, using it to threaten other sitting pro-life legislators around the country. Their message is clear, “You better do what we want, or we will come after you.”
The vicious last minute attack mailer that was sent out in Olafson’s district was also mailed to the entire ND Legislature in a direct and brazen attempt to threaten and intimidate the entire ND Legislature. Is this what we, the citizens want? Our legislatures making decisions based on which radical group is most effective in threatening and intimidating our legislators?
Alexander indicates this isn’t an isolated incident of personhood amendment supporters targeting pro-life candidates.
Eagle Forum noted that a personhood ballot initiative lost twice by a nearly 3-to-1 margin in Colorado, taking down pro-life candidates Bob Schaffer and Marilyn Musgrave as collateral damage.
The personhood amendment also contributed to the defeat of pro-life Senate candidate Ken Buck and the election of pro-abortion Sen. Michael Bennet.
Buck endorsed the amendment, but was pummeled by millions of dollars in television commercials making the false claim that he opposed birth control and contraception because of his stance on it. The Republican eventually had to withdraw his support for the amendment so his position would not be misconstrued. After he withdrew his support, personhood amendment supporters ravaged Buck and criticized him as supposedly casting aside his heartfelt pro-life views. Buck wound up losing the race to his pro-abortion opponent after the confusion personhood amendment backers created — costing pro-life advocates a seat in the Senate, which has approved President Barack Obama’s pro-abortion nominees and defeated pro-life legislation and efforts to de-fund abortion and Planned Parenthood.
Alexander says personhood amendment supporters are spending heavily in the presidential election — not by attacking President Barack Obama and his lengthy pro-abortion record but by going after Mitt Romney, who has the endorsement of several pro-life groups and leaders.
The director of Personhood Oklahoma is the treasurer and custodian of records for Pro-Life Super PAC in Oklahoma. Pro-Life Super PAC didn’t bother filing its last quarterly report. One report reveals that it has spent over a million dollars going after Mitt Romney, including creating a TV ad attacking him. Instead of attacking pro-choice Obama, this personhood PAC is spending money attacking the Republican nominee for president. Most of the rest of the Republican presidential candidates were coerced into declaring they support personhood amendments, afraid of being depicted as not pro-life.
Alexander concludes by pointing out that good pro-life people can agree to disagree on strategy without taking out pro-life candidates or organizations.
The false portrayal of anyone who opposes personhood as pro-abortion must stop. Pro-lifers may reasonably differ over how to reduce abortions in this country.