Baby Moses, Human-Jellyfish Hybrids, and Transhumanism: The GOP Candidates Weigh In
Four years ago, a Colorado ballot referendum to define life as beginning at the point of fertilization lost by a margin of 3 to 1. Two years ago, it lost by 2 to 1. In 2011, an amendment on the ballot in Mississippi failed by 10 percent. To many of us, that might appear like variations of a blowout, but Gualberto Garcia Jones, a legal analyst for Personhood USA, sees progress. In just a short period of time, the personhood movement has gone from radical fringe to mainstream—at least within the conservative movement. And in Greenville on Wednesday, days before what is shaping up to be the decisive primary contest of the 2012 Republican presidential race, the candidates, sans Mitt Romney, participated in an hour-and-a-half long forum on how to eradicate abortion.
Personhood USA, the event’s sponsor, may not have had any luck at the polls, but it’s quickly brought major party backers into its fold. Every major candidate but Romney has signed onto the group’s pledge to “oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research”; attack abortion rights “without exception and without compromise”; and, most importantly, “work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development” and appoint judges who feel the same way. They’ve held tele-townhalls in Iowa and are planning another in-person forum in Florida.
When he talks about his group’s rise, Garcia Jones makes an unexpected comparison.
“I think the best example is sort of the Ron Paul people,” he says. “You know, Ron Paul ran for president last time and he lost, I don’t know if he lost 3 to 1, 4 to 1, 5 to 1, whatever. But because he stuck to his core, I think he was able to gather a following.”
Or maybe, after listening to Paul speak here on Wednesday, it’s not such a weird comparison after all. Personhood USA has, like Paul himself, clawed its way into a conversation from which it was once shunned, to a point where no one can ignore it—or its supporters. In the process, it’s forced the GOP field to hold court on issues the candidates might have preferred stay in quiet rooms.