Bryan Fischer
Why personhood failed
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By Bryan Fischer
November 10, 2011

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

Mississippi's personhood amendment failed by a large margin last night, 58-42. Why?

1. Naive, gullible Christians. It was truly remarkable to observe during the campaign how easily deceived Bible-believing Christians were, and how ready they were to believe virtually every lie that Planned Parenthood told about this initiative. Rather than being guided by conscience and Scripture, they allowed themselves to be guided by those who make a literal killing destroying the lives of unborn children.

2. Misguided, weak pastors. Many pastors of conservative churches which belong to conservative denominations spoke and even editorialized against this initiative. In so doing, they betrayed the plain teaching of the Word of God that pregnant women carry babies, not blobs of tissue, in their wombs (Luke 1:39-45). They gave cover to their pro-life parishioners to vote against life. There are enough Bible-believing Christians in Mississippi that if they had been given clear biblical counsel from their pastors and and simply voted their values, personhood would have passed 58-42 instead of losing by that margin.

3. The lies of Planned Parenthood. Since the personhood initiative had science (human life begins at conception), the Declaration of Independence (the first of our "unalienable" rights is the right to life), and the Bible (see Psalm 139:13-16) on its side, Planned Parenthood was left with nothing but lies and deceit. Planned Parenthood said personhood would ban contraceptives (it would not), would ban in-vitro fertilization (it would not), and would prevent doctors from performing life-saving surgeries on pregnant women (it would not). But as Stalin observed, the bigger lie, the easier it is to get a gullible populace to believe if it is repeated often enough and loud enough.

4. Personal guilt. Abortion has directly touched perhaps half the population of Mississippi. A significant number of women in the state have had an abortion, and there is a father implicated in every one. If they have not found resolution for the tragic decision to terminate a human life through the forgiveness available in Christ, their own unresolved guilt may have made it difficult for them to vote for this initiative. For them, sadly, to have voted yes would have involved self-condemnation.

5. Haley Barbour. The pro-life governor voted for personhood himself, but told everyone who would listen that there was "ambiguity" in the language and that he had concerns about it. He repeatedly told national media outlets that even pro-lifers had concerns about the language. His concerns eventually made it into a Planned Parenthood robocall. While he was able to put a stop to the robocalls, damage had been done.

The real problem here, frankly, is not that the language was ambiguous but rather that it was absolutely unambiguous. Folks knew exactly what this amendment would do. Its language was about as straightforward as language can be: human life begins at conception, and deserves legal protection. It was the clarity of the language, not its ambiguity, that aroused the hostility of its opponents.

Nevertheless, the avuncular Gov. Barbour, who is enormously well-liked in Mississippi, gave permission to thousands and thousands of pro-life Mississippians to vote against maximum protection for unborn human life. He voted for life himself, but his one vote was likely overwhelmed by thousands who were influenced by his words to vote against personhood.

There is no question that this loss is a body blow to the pro-life movement, and puts off the day when a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade can be launched.

So what is the way forward from here? Giving up is not and will never be an option. God will not give up on babies in the womb, and neither should we. In fact, we cannot. Conscience and Scripture will not allow us to withdraw from the field of battle.

One possibility for a path forward: Ohio has a fetal heartbeat bill under consideration, which would protect a baby from the moment its heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as 18 to 21 days of development.

Legislation that provides legal protection for every infant from the moment its heartbeat can be detected neutralizes almost all the lies of Planned Parenthood. It takes the birth control argument off the table and takes the IVF argument off the table. It takes the ectopic pregnancy argument off the table. It would leave only the rape and incest arguments to the pro-death forces, but it's a tougher sell for them to say that rape makes it okay to stop the beating heart of a baby.

What exactly the way forward is has yet to be determined. But a way forward will be found because it must be found. The Founders believed all human life is sacred and deserves protection. We cannot rest until their vision for America is realized once again.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

© Bryan Fischer

 

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