Testimony for The Personhood Act of South Carolina (S217)…

The South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee has the opportunity to protect life in the womb by passing S217, The Personhood Act of South Carolina. Read the text of the bill here and pray that our legislators are given the courage and compassion necessary to send this bill to the full Senate, through the House, and to the Governor’s desk. I prepared the following statement and hope to present it to an upcoming judiciary subcommittee meeting…

Testimony Prepared for Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Meeting 

in Support of S217, The Personhood Act of South Carolina

There is always a purpose in denying personhood to a particular subset of mankind: To do so allows oppressors to gain legal protection for their murders. In the early 20th century, Jews were not considered persons and so they were killed. In the early part of the 19th century, Native Americans were not considered persons and so were killed. In the 18th and 19th centuries, African slaves in America were not considered persons and so were killed. I have said it here before and I will say it again: Today there are members of the human race—just like Jews, Native Americans, and African Americans in times past—who are arbitrarily being denied personhood so that they may be killed.

The graves of those who were denied personhood in previous eras litter the ground in many places around the world. The graves of those denied personhood today in the United States of America are found in the place where they are meant to enjoy nourishment, warmth, and protection: the wombs of their mothers. The pre-born child in the womb—the 21st century’s non-person—is discarded like refuse. Other testimony today—scientific, theological, ethical, medical—will make it impossible for you to deny the reality of what I said earlier: personhood is denied to babies in the womb so oppressors can kill them without consequences. We’ve seen this before, haven’t we?

Think about these terrible statements denying personhood to a particular people and connected, in one way or another, with our past, Senators:

In 1857…

…the men who framed [the Declaration of Independence]…perfectly understood the meaning of the language they used [“all men are created equal”], and how it would be understood by others; and they knew that it would not in any part of the civilized world be supposed to embrace the negro race…. —Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

About 25 years later…

An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution. —George Canfield in American Law Review 15 (January, 1881)

About 40 years later…

The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human. They cannot be human in the sense of being an image of God, the Eternal. The Jews are the image of the devil. —Adolf Hitler, speech at Krone Circus in Munich, Germany (May, 1923)

About 50 years later…

All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. —Roe v. Wade (1973)

All but one of those statements and their terrible denials of personhood are soundly condemned today. Yet, all those statements are cut from the same cloth: they deny personhood to a certain kind of person; they protect the oppressor and condemn his victim. Will it take another 60 million deaths before we are willing to repent for that fourth statement from Roe? Have the courage, Senators, to begin a national repentance here today. State what you know to be true: all men are created equal. Jews are persons, created in the image of God; Native Americans are persons, created in the image of God; African Americans are persons, created in the image of God. Babies in the womb are persons, created in the image of God.

Psalm 139 teaches us that God weaves each of us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Shall we take what God wonderfully weaves together and violently tear it apart after redefining it as a non-person, as discardable property? That is precisely what we are doing at a relentless pace. That carnage began just as every other instance in history started: by those with political power denying what is revealed in God’s Word, by denying personhood to a whole class of people.

Have mercy, Senators. Show our people how to repent. Begin by voting Yes for S217.

A Servant of Christ,

Andrew Dionne,
Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church
Board Member, Personhood SC
www.trinityspartanburg.com | www.personhood.sc

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