On Wednesday State Representative Andre Jacque (R-Green Bay) began circulating for co-sponsorship the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment, legislation that would amend the Wisconsin Constitution to apply personhood rights to preborn children at all stages of development. Click here to read the amendment language, and click here to view PLW’s legislative memo.how you can help at Pro-Life Wisconsin
From a pro-life perspective, the Wisconsin Constitution contains a glaring error at its outset. In specifying the beneficiaries of its human rights, our state constitution leaves out the preborn. It applies rights to only those people who are “born.”
Representative Jacque is proposing a minimal but absolutely essential correction, a personhood amendment, to make the Wisconsin Constitution cover all people, every person, at any stage of development. The amendment seeks to extend the inalienable right to life found in the Wisconsin Constitution to all preborn children from the beginning of their lives.
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned someday and the abortion issue remanded to the states, an activist Wisconsin Supreme Court could use the word “born” in our current state constitution to deny the right to life of the preborn by interpreting an independent right to abortion in that document. In so doing, the court could nullify any present or future pro-life laws in our state. The changing makeup of the Wisconsin Legislature could also jeopardize any pro-life laws in our state. Every two years our state election process determines the majority party in Madison. Legal protection of the preborn should not (and must not) be contingent upon which party controls the state legislature. The right to life should not be subject to the whims of a politicized supreme court or an ever-changing legislature.
The introduction of the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment is a watershed moment in the history of the pro-life movement in our state. It seeks to end abortion in Wisconsin, not to regulate or restrict it. We have been working toward the introduction of such an amendment for the last five years, and we thank Representative Jacque for demonstrating the courage of his convictions in finally making it a reality.
The personhood amendment will face stiff opposition from the pro-abortion industry. Shockingly, the strongest opposition to the bill at this point is coming from Wisconsin Right to Life (WRL). In February WRL published a position paper vowing to oppose any effort to grant Wisconsin’s pre-born babies full constitutional rights as persons, labeling such efforts a “threat to [the] protection of Wisconsin unborn children.” They worked hard to ensure a personhood amendment was never introduced. Having failed in that effort, they are now calling every state legislator demanding that they not sign on to the bill. WRL admits that their legal reasoning for opposing a state personhood amendment is speculative. WRL offers no case law to back up their asserted problems, admitting that they are only “probable”. Pro-Life Wisconsin, on the other hand, offers recent Wisconsin case law clearly demonstrating that the proposed amendment is not a risk to our current, pre-Roe abortion law (Section 940.04, Wisconsin Statutes) by “implied repeal” or otherwise. Click here for PLW’s legal analysis rebutting their misguided objections.
The pro-life movement is founded on the bedrock principle that all human beings, at all stages of their development, deserve full protection under the law. Why oppose proactive people of good will endeavoring to provide full and lasting legal protection for preborn children? Pro-Life Wisconsin remains committed to constitutionally protecting Wisconsin’s preborn children, regardless of opposition from the abortion industry or from within the right to life movement.