Why Personhood?

By Rev. Walter B Hoye II "The term 'non-person' has emerged as the most far-reaching and disastrous epithet ever invoked to devalue human life in the womb. When the United Sates Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision (1973) declared that 'the word 'person,' as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn,' it sounded the legalized death knell for huge numbers of unborn humans." — William Brennan, Ph.D., Professor of Social Work in the Saint Louis University School of Social Work. Personhood is a Pro-Life strategy that does not embrace exceptions and in my opinion, is exactly what the Pro-Life movement looks like victorious.  Personhood allows the discussion to focus on life and is a powerful and effective strategy for communicating life in communities of color. In the classroom of race-based oppression, minority communities share a very painful history of lessons learned at the ultimate expense of life itself in this country. Because we've "been there" … Because we understand what it is like not to be a person, we know exactly where the term "non-person" leads. Personhood is rooted in truth. "Momma is with child" and only this simple truth has the power to triumphantly contend with those hiding behind socially impeccable auspices such as the Pulpit, the Bench or the Resolute Desk. Personhood affords us the opportunity to address how words have been used historically to justify the vilest crimes against humanity. Personhood reminds the public that malevolent and worm wooded words fuel violent human behavior. By design, Personhood replaces the lexicon of dehumanization with what Dr. Brennan calls a "nomenclature of life-affirming and exalted portrayals of all human beings despite their status, condition, stage of development, gender, race, age or place of residence." If the goal of the Fourteenth Amendment was to give