By Bob Allen
Georgia Baptists have joined an effort to switch the abortion debate from a woman’s right to choose to the “personhood” of the unborn fetus from the moment of conception.
The Georgia Baptist Convention passed a resolution at its 2014 annual meeting Nov. 10-11 supporting an amendment to the state’s constitution to specify that protections guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution apply to “preborn” children.
Last year Georgia lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment recognizing “the paramount right to life of all human beings as persons at any stage of development.” The bill didn’t make it onto the 2014 ballot, however, because it died in committee.
Similar state laws have cropped up in five states since 2008. While so far all have failed, a newly formed group called the Personhood Alliance described defending human rights from the earliest biological beginning through natural death “nothing less than the prolife battleground of the 21st century.”
Described as “a Christ-centered organization,” the Personhood Alliance launched officially last month. Representatives from 15 states attended the founding convention in Duluth, Ga., adopting bylaws and electing delegates who plan their first meeting in early March.
Georgia Right to Life President Daniel Becker said the movement “represents an earthquake in the pro-life movement.”
Rather than relying on “top down” anti-abortion groups that are out of touch with their base, Becker said Personhood Alliance “will draw on the strength of local organizations in developing educational and political action strategies and activities.”
Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, said goal is to “bring the [pro-life] movement back to its original mission” by honoring “the fact that everyone is created in the image of God and deserves protection, regardless of manner of conception.”
After voters in Colorado and North Dakota rejected personhood ballot initiatives, Personhood Alliance announced a campaign to add personhood language to local ordinances and codes at the county and municipal level across the country in 2015.
The Personhood Alliance currently has established member organizations in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to a press release.
Introduced by Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., the Georgia Baptist Convention resolution on “personhood and the sanctity of human life,” cites the convention’s “long biblical tradition of strong support for traditional family values including the right to life for all persons in Georgia from fertilization to natural death.”
Copies of the resolution will be forwarded to Georgia’s governor, lieutenant governor and members of both houses of the state legislature.