Assembly Health Committee to Hold Public Hearing on Wisconsin Personhood Amendment

By Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislative Director

The Assembly Committee on Health will hold a public hearing on Assembly Joint Resolution 130, known as the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment, this Thursday, February 13, at 9:01 a.m. in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. The legislation extends the inalienable right to life already found in the Wisconsin Constitution to all preborn children from the beginning of their lives. An amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution requires passage in two successive legislatures followed by a simple majority vote of the people. The Governor’s signature is not required.

Authored by State Representatives Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) and Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) and State Senator André Jacque (R-De Pere), AJR 130 and its companion Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 86 have been referred to the Assembly Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection, respectively.

Pro-Life Wisconsin commends the authors of AJR 130 and SJR 86 for their boldness in the defense of human life. We further thank the amendment’s 19 co-sponsors for having the courage of their convictions: Senators David Craig and Duey Stroebel and Representatives Joan Ballweg, Robert Brooks, Rick Gundrum, Cody Horlacher, Rob Hutton, Bob Kulp, Gae Magnafici, Dave Murphy, Romaine Quinn, Timothy S. Ramthun, Michael Schraa, Ken Skowronski, Shae Sortwell, Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Paul Tittl, Ron Tusler, and Chuck Wichgers.

ACT NOW!

With your help, Pro-Life Wisconsin will lead the fight to enshrine the right to life in our Wisconsin Constitution. Again, the Assembly Health Committee will hold a public hearing on AJR 130 this Thursday, February 13, at 9:01 a.m. in Room 412 East of the State Capitol.

  • Please ATTEND the public hearing and testify or register in favor of AJR 130.

  • If you are unable to attend the public hearing, please CALL or EMAIL your state representative and senator TODAY and urge him/her to “Support AJR 130 & SJR 86, the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment.” 

  • Tell your legislators that every human being, born or unborn, deserves equal protection under the law. Tell them to extend the inalienable right to life already found in the Wisconsin Constitution to all preborn children at all stages of development.

If your state representative or state senator is already a co-sponsor of AJR 130 & SJR 86, please thank him/her!

Don’t know your state representative and state senator? Go to legis.wisconsin.gov and type in your home address under “Who Are My Legislators” or call the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-362-9472.

BACKGROUND:

Both the Kansas and Iowa supreme courts have recently ruled that the “liberty” right in their respective state constitutions includes a substantive due process right to abortion. Abortion is now a fundamental right in Kansas and Iowa. Both states are now moving to amend their state constitutions.

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court loses its tenuous conservative majority, we can be assured that a new liberal majority will move quickly to find a right to abortion in the Wisconsin Constitution. And they would have an easier time doing so. How so?

From a pro-life perspective, the Wisconsin Constitution contains a glaring error at its outset.  In specifying the beneficiaries of its human rights enumerated in Section 1 of the Declaration of Rights, our state constitution leaves out the preborn.  It applies the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to only those people who are “born.”

An activist Wisconsin Supreme Court  most assuredly would 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 would nullify any present or future pro-life laws in our state. Let’s not wait for this to happen, like Kansas and Iowa! Rather, let’s be prepared by moving swiftly to amend our state constitution. Only by enshrining the right to life in our state’s highest law will our preborn children be afforded full and lasting legal protection.

THE AMENDMENT:

The authors of AJR 130 and SJR 86 are proposing a minimal but absolutely essential correction, a Wisconsin Personhood Amendment, to make the Wisconsin Constitution cover all people, every person, at any stage of development. The amendment language reads as follows:

Article 1. Declaration of Rights. Equality; inherent rights. 

SECTION 1 (1) is amended to read: All persons are equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. As applied to the right to life, the term “persons” shall apply to every human being at any stage of development, born or unborn. 

SECTION 1 (2) is created to read: The legislature may define, by law, the scope of protections afforded by this section to unborn persons. Any prohibition of conduct with regard to unborn persons shall be prescribed by the legislature by law.

Section 1 enshrines in our state constitution the principle of equality of all human beings before the law. It is indispensable to extending the protective cover of Wisconsin’s constitution over our state’s preborn children.

Section 2 of the amendment provides a principled rejection of government by the judiciary, expressly assigning the legislature as the proper authority to implement the equality provision in the amendment. The legislature, not the judiciary, is the proper authority to implement the amendment’s equality definition.

Over the past 50 years, the courts have usurped the role of the legislature in making law, interpreting a so-called “living constitution” and then brazenly and undemocratically imposing their morals and personal values on the public. The legislature, not the judiciary, has the sole authority to make law, and is the institution closest to the people, under the legal framework of our federal and state constitutions.

In sum, the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment by itself will NOT end abortion now, but it offers a return to first principles: 1) equal protection under the law; and 2) rejection of government by the judiciary, by assigning the proper authority to implement equal protection to the group closest to the people – the legislature. And as a practical matter, the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment is absolutely essential to protecting all of our state’s pro-life laws, now and in the future.

Please make your pro-life voices heard in the Wisconsin Legislature! Thank you for your prayers and support for the day when all preborn children will be protected in law as persons.

Please check out our other blog posts here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s