Arkansas’ Liberal Democrat Attorney General Blocks Personhood Amendment

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Personhood proponents say "bias" to blame, will refile

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Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would recognize the personhood rights of every human being. The measure, proposed by Personhood Arkansas, guarantees that: “No innocent person shall be denied the right to life.” The term “person” applies “to all human beings, including the unborn, at every stage of their development.”

Among the various reasons McDaniel cited for rejecting the measure was that the phrase “every stage of development” was not specific in defining which human beings would enjoy the full protection of law.

This language is currently used to define the scope of legal protections in Arkansas’ Fetal Homicide Law, the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Federal Innocent Child Protection Act, and in 27 state laws throughout the nation.

“Clearly, this is activism masquerading as a charge of ambiguity,” explained Personhood Arkansas’ Preston Dunn. “The phrase is used by attorneys and embryologists alike to mean everyone.”

McDaniel took issue with the submitted popular name “Paramount Right to Life,” writing, “Your measure would not only deny public funding for any abortion…it would prohibit such abortions altogether….yet likewise fails to mention those restrictions in the popular name.”

“We can only conclude that the Attorney General is instructing us to include all of the effects of our proposal in its very name,” continued Dunn. “This alone should reveal the untenable requirements imposed upon us.”

Last July, McDaniel told a crowd: "This legislative session, the Attorney General’s office had to work harder at opposing legislation than we've had in probably all the other legislative sessions previously put together. I had 37 bills I had to go and oppose in the legislature, but I'm telling you that with the help of our legislative leaders, Democrats, our Governor, and our staff, you know how many of those 37 became law? Zero, not one of them."

Curtis Coleman wrote in the The New South Conservative last April that “McDaniel [is] blatantly pro-abortion, as starkly illustrated by the fact that in almost every committee hearing in which a pro-life measure was discussed during the recently adjourned 88th Assembly of the Arkansas Legislature, a representative from the Attorney General’s office was on hand to oppose the bill.”

“McDaniel writes in his opinion that ‘this office has been given no authority to determine the merits of the proposal,’ and yet, he is acting as a one man, self-appointed Supreme Court,” said Dunn. “We are forced to challenge the federal tyranny that is Roe v. Wade. But to get there, we must deal with a biased and politically motivated Attorney General. This should serve as a wake-up call to every Arkansan who understands--and holds in high regard--the inalienable right to life.

Personhood Arkansas is refiling the amendment, adopting as many of the recommendations as possible, and preparing a lawsuit to challenge an anticipated second rejection.

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Jennifer Mason