A proposed amendment to Wisconsin’s constitution that would define personhood as beginning at the moment an egg is fertilized, has pro-life groups in disagreement.
State Rep. Andre Jacque, R-Bellevue, introduced the personhood amendment, which would make abortion unconstitutional in Wisconsin, last week. He said the state needs a true definition of “human life” in its constitution.
“This is a declaration that our inalienable rights extend from the moment of conception,” Jacque told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The amendment would remove the word “born” from the phrase in the Wisconsin constitution, “all people are born free and independent”.
In a significant referendum vote earlier this month, Mississippi voters rejected a similar amendment.
The amendment would need to be passed by two successive state Legislatures and approved by a majority of voters.
While groups like Pro-Life Wisconsin support the proposal, the state’s largest pro-life group, Wisconsin Right to Life, said “a personhood amendment strategy is not necessary, risky —and just plain wrong for Wisconsin,” on its website.
The group said Wisconsin already has a law that prohibits abortion, but the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion on a national level, supersedes the state’s law.
They said in a statement “once Roe v. Wade is overturned, this law would immediately go into effect and protect unborn children.” A personhood amendment would invalidate the existing law.
Also, the group estimates it would cost “at least $4 million or more to win a ballot measure” and believe it “would be challenged in court and struck down.”
But Pro-Life Wisconsin supports the personhood amendment, and said on their website the personhood amendment addresses the abortion issue at its most fundamental level, “that all preborn babies are ‘persons’.”
“A ‘person’ is a human being who is fully protected under the law; and we use the legal term ‘personhood’ to describe this condition,” Pro-Life Wisconsin said. “Once a human being is declared a person, that individual is guaranteed certain legal rights.”
In response to the defeat of the personhood amendment in Mississippi, Planned Parenthood said such an amendment “is government gone too far, and would have allowed government to have control over personal decisions.”