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A Time to Decide: Personhood USA's Open Letter to National Right to Life
Contact: Keith Mason, President, Personhood USA, 202-595-3500; www.personhoodusa.com/press  
DENVER, March 31, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA Personhood USA, releases the following letter and is available for comment:
National Right to Life,
What does it mean to be pro-life? Is it about protecting every innocent human being or about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard? I was shocked when I read your decision to revoke affiliation with Georgia Right to Life. It reminded me of a moment last summer, when you wrote a letter to Congress, threatening to censure pro-life legislators who voted against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. After it was amended to exclude children conceived in rape and incest, you told pro-life stalwarts that you would "regard a vote against this legislation, no matter what justification is offered, as a vote to allow unlimited abortion in the sixth month or later."
Now this issue has again bubbled to the surface, causing your rupture with Georgia Right to Life, a stalwart pro-life organization that refuses to endorse legislation which excludes children conceived in rape and incest from the umbrella of legal protection. Because of Georgia Right to Life's rigorous vetting of candidates, 68% of Georgia's Senators are now pro-life without exception, and 9 out of 9 statewide officials--including the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Secretary of State--support a personhood amendment to the state constitution. Why does this effective pro-life organization deserve to be disfellowshipped for being "too pro-life?"
National Right to Life, what is the standard you will hold our elected officials to? Will Eric Cantor, author of the amendment to exclude those conceived in rape and incest from the law's protection, receive your "100% pro-life" rubber-stamp? Will Georgia Congressmen Broun and Woodall--pro-life champions elected on no-exceptions, Personhood platforms--be given a failing grade on your electoral scorecard? Will they be ranked with Nancy Pelosi and the most radical abortion defenders simply because they could not conscientiously endorse a bill that left children conceived in rape to die outside our law's protection?
Suppose the National Rifle Association proposed a bill to protect handgun ownership, but which was amended to ban AR-15s. Many Congressmen would oppose such a bill, citing man's God-given, Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Could you imagine if the NRA attacked those representatives, threatening to brand them with the same badge of shame as Diane Feinstein? It's inconceivable that the gun-rights lobby would be guilty of such a strategic mistake, but isn't that what your pro-life lobby on Capitol Hill has done?
The Pain Capable Act was a messaging bill that never had a chance of clearing the Senate or wooing President Obama's signature. What message does it send to our pro-life representatives when you whip them to support legislation that denies the right to life to innocent babies conceived in rape? What message does it send to state legislators held to a 100% pro-life standard to tell legislators on Capitol Hill that it's okay for them to vote based on a lower standard? What message does it send to America about the value of children conceived in that violent act?
National Right to Life, you support freedom of conscience when it comes to opposing Obamacare's HHS abortion-mandate. Where is freedom of conscience when it comes to voting on your legislation? When you say "no matter what justification is offered," does that include a pro-life representative or state affiliate's appeal to conscience?
When Ireland's "pro-life party" introduced legislation that opened the door to broadly legalized abortion, you published an article condemning them for kicking out representatives who voted their conscience against the legislation. The article expressed "its deepest appreciation and admiration to . . . parliamentarians who choose to defend the right to life at great personal political cost." Why will you not extend the same appreciation to Broun and Woodall, who chose to defend the right to life for all unborn children, at great personal political cost? Why will you not extend the same approbation to Georgia Right to Life, which took the moral high-ground by withdrawing support your compromised legislation?
It's time to decide what our standard is as a movement. If being pro-life is about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard and voting the party line, like Eric Cantor, then we will continue to enable political opportunists who have no interest in ending abortion. If it is about protecting the lives and inherent dignity of every unborn child -- Personhood -- then we will praise statesmen who adhere to that standard rather than reprimanding them. That was the standard set by the GOP platform and the legislative agenda endorsed in President Ronald Reagan's Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.
We are not enemies, but friends. We ought not be enemies, for we are allied in the same great struggle for human dignity. We seek unity with you toward that end. It is in your hands to decide which standard to follow. We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways. I ask you to reconsider your commitment to our movement's singular purpose and beg you to rededicate yourselves to protecting and defending Personhood for all, no matter the cost.
Keith Mason
President, Personhood USA