Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fox News, Personhood, and the Supreme Court

Last night, Fox News aired a report on Personhood USA and Personhood Colorado. In the report, someone named Scott Moss of the University of Colorado Law School made the claim that the Personhood amendment on the 2010 Colorado ballot would "be almost certainly completely ineffectual at reigning in abortion because the State can't trump the U.S. Supreme Court." It is unfortunate that most of today's "pro-life" organizations have taken that same attitude, which is why, 37 years after Roe v. Wade, we still have legalized abortion nationwide.

The last time I checked, the judicial branch of government was only one of three supposedly equal branches of government, and yet so many people, like this law professor from Colorado, take the position that anything the court does is somehow above anything that the legislative or executive branches can do. Article 3 of the United States Constitution lists the very limited types of cases in which the Supreme Court is to have original jurisdiction. "In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." Congress seems to have abdicated the making of such Regulations since today's Supreme Court seems to have any power it wants. In fact, the power to interpret the Constitution and to determine that any legislation enacted by Congress or by the State legislatures is unconstitutional does not come from the Constitution. The power of the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional came from the Court itself (Marbury v. Madison, 1803).

The specific law that was declared unconstitutional in the Roe v. Wade case was Articles 1191-1194 and 1196 of the Texas Penal Code. To "procure an abortion" was a crime punishable by up to five years in the penitentiary. The term "abortion" was then given a definition: "the life of the fetus or embryo shall be destroyed in the woman's womb or that a premature birth thereof be caused."

Our Texas legislators need to stand up to the Supreme Court by declaring that children in the womb are persons with full rights. Current law already does this as we have demonstrated in our letter to our state senators. The Court itself said that "if this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment." The Texas Legislature has already established this suggestion of person by law in its definition of individual. Or by establishing this "suggestion of personhood," did the Court, in its arrogance, mean that only IT could establish this suggestion? If so, they forgot to take into account the fact that there are two other branches of government.

Our legislators need to have courage and conviction and do what they know is right, by taking that definition of "individual" already in law and applying the protections of the right to life to everyone who falls under that definition. And we the people MUST hold them accountable for this.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writing our legislators

I took my letter to Governor Perry from December, changed it just a bit, and am sending out to my state senator tomorrow. I urge other Texans to do the same thing. The Texas Legislature doesn't meet until early 2011, but we need to get our message out to them now. Here is the letter that will go out via U.S. Mail tomorrow...

April 24, 2010

Senator Jane Nelson
PO Box 608
Grapevine, TX 76099

RE: Unconstitutional Texas Law

Dear Senator Nelson:

As a citizen of the great State of Texas, I am writing to you today to express my grave concern about sections of the current Texas Penal Code that are in plain violation of the Constitution of the United States.

According to Tex. Penal Code §1.07, a “Person” “means an individual, corporation, or association." (Tex. Penal Code §1.07.38) An "individual" (the term used in the definition of "Person") "means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth." (Tex. Penal Code §1.07.26)

Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code deals with the crimes of criminal homicide. Tex. Penal Code §19.02 plainly states that a person commits the offense of murder if he "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual."

The definition of individual was put into the Code by the 2003 Prenatal Protection Act, designed to protect pregnant women from violent acts that might result in the harm of their unborn children. This act was an important step in protecting the rights of infants in the womb. Unfortunately, that same act also created Tex. Penal Code §19.06, which states, in part, that:

This chapter [the chapter defining criminal homicide] does not apply to the death of an unborn child if the conduct charged is:
(1) conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child;
(2) a lawful medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed health care provider with the requisite consent, if the death of the unborn child was the intended result of the procedure;

After reading these sections of the code, I can only come to the conclusion that unborn children are defined as persons according to the law, and yet Texas law fails to protect the inalienable rights of these persons.

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution says, in part, that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The current Texas code, specifically §19.06, is in clear violation of the last two clauses of Amendment Fourteen as it allows for the deprivation of life without due process of law, and it denies these certain persons "within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Even the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision claimed that: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment." As of 2003, Texas law now establishes this suggestion of personhood by statute, so, according to the Roe v. Wade decision, the right to life of unborn children MUST be guaranteed in accordance with the Fourteenth Amendment.

Senator Nelson, you swore in your oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State. Your taking of this oath demands that you take immediate and decisive steps to bring Texas law into compliance with the Constitution of the United States and to stop the murder of innocent human life that is taking place in this state.

I have enclosed a template for how this unconstitutionality can be corrected. Tex. Penal Code §19.06, in its current form, must be removed. All statutes specifically keeping abortion a legal medical procedure must also be removed. Since unborn children are now defined, by law, as persons, and since abortion, by definition, kills unborn children, abortion would then be considered homicide.

Senator Nelson, will you have the moral courage to propose such a bill in the next session of the Texas Legislature? As a constituent, I implore you to do so.


Dan Hawkins
Texas Personhood


I will be enclosing a template bill which can be found here: http://texaspersonhood.blogspot.com/2010/03/healthcare.html