A Religious and Philosophical Defense of Personhood

A Biblical Understanding of Personhood Based on Genesis 2:7
by John Roskoski PhD

At the core of the issues regarding the decisions to terminate life, whether in the unborn or terminally diagnosed, is the issue of “personhood”. The decisions are often troubling and the overall issue has generated much confusion for caregivers and an array of philosophical positions. A source of this confusion and philosophical debate is the lack of a precise definition of “personhood”. This lack of precision often leads to conflicting arguments and extreme rhetoric from opposing sides and, thereby, deters meaningful dialogue and practical application.

Continue reading in the ABR Journal…


Singer and Erickson: two sides of the same coin?

by Josh Craddock

Is it always wrong to take an innocent human life? That’s the question Princeton Professor Peter Singer asked in his editorial for The Daily Star last week. It’s also the question that RedState editor Erick Erickson begs in his unhinged attack on Georgia Right to Life, after they withdrew support from the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Both authors overlook the crucial distinctions between non-interference and accomplice with abortion.

Criticizing the “absoluteness” of answering yes, Singer outlines the case of Beatriz—a pseudonymous El Salvadoran woman caught in the middle of an international dispute over her country’s pro-life laws last month. Singer, like other abortion advocates, argues that Beatriz’s health condition (classified by national health authorities as non-threatening to her life) and her unborn child’s brain abnormality (anencephaly) produce a case where taking innocent human life is justifiable. He laments the Salvadoran Supreme Court’s ruling, which upheld the country’s personhood protections for both mother and child.

Yet his dramatic storytelling truncates the ending: Beatriz went into labor naturally and her doctors determined the kind of delivery—Caesarean section—that would be best for their patient. Her baby daughter was born alive and lived for five hours. An abortion would have torn the little girl limb from limb inside the womb.

It’s ironic that Singer, an advocate of so-called “death with dignity,” asks whether there was any benefit to delivery and natural death instead of a violent abortion. The difference is that, while non-interference is not immoral (provided reasonable efforts have been made to preserve life), it is always immoral to actively assent to the killing of an innocent human being.

Erick Erickson misses this same distinction in his hit-piece against Georgia Right to Life (GRTL). When House Republicans exempted children conceived in rape and incest from their fetal pain legislation, GRTL pulled its support for the bill. Supporting the bill with those exceptions authorizes the intentional killing of some innocent human beings, with the intention to possibly save others. Yet this bill never even had the possibility to save others, since it cannot pass the Senate and would receive a decisive veto from President Obama if it did.

To see the parallels in reasoning more clearly, compare these paraphrased summaries:

Singer: Anencephaly is extremely rare. An “all-or-nothing” rule against abortion is inadequate for practical circumstances. Sanctioning the killing of some babies is more compassionate than adhering to rigid principle against abortion. El Salvador’s law is “immoral,” and their moral principles ought to be changed.
Erickson: Rape and incest are extremely rare. GRTL’s “all-or-nothing” rule against abortion is inadequate for practical circumstances. Sanctioning the killing of some babies is more compassionate than adhering to rigid principle against abortion. GRTL’s position is “morally vacant” and their moral principles ought to be changed.


Supporting the fetal pain legislation (as amended), which reinforces the legality of murdering children based on the circumstances of their conception, could be considered joining as an accomplice. Revoking support for such a bill (non-interference) is a moral response to a compromise which undermines the foundational moral principle that all unborn children are persons deserving legal protection. Why would Erickson vilify other pro-life advocates for adhering to that principle?

While his support for “exceptions” in pro-life bills advances the same flawed reasoning as Singer, Erickson only hints at the unstated serpentine question, “Is it always wrong to take an innocent human life?” If we are to remain pro-life, the answer must always be yes.

Rape victims seek protection from abortion for babies conceived in rape

For the first time since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, a new organization has formed to focus on the demographic of babies most ignored by the pro-life movement, yet most often singled out by pro-abortion groups: babies conceived in rape. Savethe1.com has launched in an effort to educate politicians on the 100% prolife position; disallowing for any “exceptions” sentencing babies to death. These so-called “hard cases” include babies who have a poor in utero diagnosis as well as babies conceived in rape.

“Savethe1.com has several high quality videos which can be run in any state by organizations which are willing to help protect ‘the least of these’- the forgotten and marginalized pre-born babies in our society,” offered Rebecca Kiessling, founder of Savethe1.com. “We also plan to add new graphics, videos, and articles over the next month that will be available to share on social media sites. Our goal is to share these as often as possible so that every pro-life activist will understand why we must not accept the exceptions.”

Following the widely publicized misstatements of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, Save the 1 has been created to equip politicians who hold to the 100% prolife position, educating them on the statistics and facts that support 100% abortion bans. Save the 1 will include the personal stories of rape victims and people conceived in rape who seek legal protection for all unborn babies, no matter the circumstances of their conception.

Founder of Save the 1 and spokesperson for Personhood USA, attorney Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and has become an outspoken advocate for others like her and for women, such as her mother, who have been raped.

Save the 1 intends to remove and prevent ‘rape exceptions’, starting with the Hyde Amendment. Save the 1 is a reference to the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-14, in which the shepherd leaves his 99 sheep behind to find the 1 sheep who was lost.

“Rape and abortion are wrong for the same reason; they are both violent acts of aggression against another person,” continued Kiessling. “If you really care about rape victims, you should want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion, and NOT the baby. A baby is not the worst thing which can happen to a rape victim — an abortion is.”


Dr. Alveda King, Pastor Walter Hoye and the National Black Pro-life Coalition Support Personhood

From Alveda King, Pastor Walter Hoye and our friends at the National Black Pro-life Coalition:


Recognizing personhood as intrinsic to being human in the Constitution of the United States of America, would have averted slavery, concentration camps, the slaughter of Native Americans, the second class citizenship of women, the shedding of innocent blood in the wombs of our mothers and close the door to the euthanization (from the Greek εùθανασíα meaning “good death”) of our elderly. Personhood is the only Pro-Life strategy in our country today that does not embrace exceptions or legislative models of compromise. Personhood understands that from the beginning of our biological development, regardless of whether we were sexually or asexually reproduced,11 every human life has equal moral value simply because we are human. In the end, when the Pro-Life movement stands victorious by the grace, mercy and shed blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when every life is respected and protected by love and by law, victory will look like Personhood. Personhood gets it right.”

Personhood Education is Officially a 501(c)(3)

On April 5, 2010 the IRS approved Personhood Education’s application for non-profit status.  This means that Personhood Education will now be able to accept donations that are tax deductible.

With the public’s attention piqued by the Personhood Amendments on the ballots of several states, the need for education on the personhood of the pre-born child is greater than ever.

Please watch out for our updated legal and medical resources, and coming very soon, a library of educational personhood videos.


Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

Director of Personhood Education