Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Press Release

The Ronald and The Donald: Anti-Choice Extremists

Sen. Johnson, who has embraced stumping with Donald Trump if he is the nominee, co-sponsored extreme anti-choice legislation proposed during his time in the United States Senate.

By - Mar 30th, 2016 05:50 pm

MADISON – Today in Appleton, GOP Presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump said that women who undergo abortions should face “some form of punishment” if the procedure were outlawed. If Trump’s comments strike a familiar chord, it’s probably because one his biggest supporters in Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson, holds similar extremist views on a woman’s right to choose.

Sen. Johnson, who has embraced stumping with Donald Trump if he is the nominee, co-sponsored extreme anti-choice legislation proposed during his time in the United States Senate.

In 2011, Johnson co-sponsored a personhood bill to amend the Constitution to extend the 14th amendment to the unborn [1] and define life at conception. [2] Under personhood bills like the one Johnson co-sponsored, all abortions — including cases of rape or incest and instances where the mother’s life is in danger — would be banned. [3][4] Personhood would grant legal protection to a fertilized human egg and could classify certain forms of birth control as murder. [5][6]

As the rest of his party runs fast and hard away from the extreme rhetoric of the Donald Trump campaign, Johnson has brought Trump closer and closer with each passing week, refusing to denounce his presidential run as The Donald’s rhetoric grows more offensive and bombastic.

Background:

[1] Johnson Co-Sponsored A Bill To Amend The Constitution To Extend The 14th Amendment To The Unborn. In November 2011, Johnson co-sponsored “a bill to implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and unborn human person.” [CQ, 4/20/12; S. 91, Co-Sponsored 11/3/11, Introduced 1/25/11]

[2] Personhood USA Official Confirmed That Applying 14th Amendment Rights To The “Unborn” And Defining Life At Conception Would Equate To Personhood On The Federal Level. “Asked if appropriate changes with respect to the definition of a person in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would constitute ‘personhood’ at the federal level, [Communications Director for Personhood USA, Jennifer] Mason said: ‘A federal personhood amendment is our ultimate goal, but it really depends on the language. If it protects every human being, no matter of stage of development, size, location, gender or race, then we would support it. In fact that is what we are hoping for.’ What if someone like Romney believes ‘life begins at conception’ and also supports 14th Amendment protection of the ‘unborn?’ Does that combination do the trick for Mason? ‘I believe so,’ she replied. Like Personhood USA, Planned Parenthood also views changes to the 14th Amendment as the federal approach to personhood. ‘Yes, it is fair to say that Planned Parenthood believes the effort to change the 14th amendment is a federal version of “personhood” measures we’ve seen in the states,’ said Monica McCafferty, Director of Marketing and Communications for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. ‘They are all seeking to provide constitutional protection to fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses at all stages of development, regardless of viability.’” [Huffington Post, Jason Salzman, 11/21/11]

[3] Personhood Amendments Like The One Facing Voters In Mississippi Would Ban Virtually All Abortions Including Those Resulting From Rape Or Incest. “A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder… The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and ‘morning-after pills,’ which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.” [New York Times, 10/25/11]

[4] The Mississippi Personhood Amendment Would Ban Abortion, Even Where The Life Of The Mother Was In Danger.  ABC news wrote of a personhood amendment on the ballot in Mississippi: “The amendment goes even farther than what anti-abortion proponents advocate, which is to define life at conception and allow abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is danger.” [ABC News, 11/7/11]

[5] Under A Personhood Measure, In-Vitro Fertilization Could Be Treated As Murder. “Similar legislation, known as ‘personhood’ bills, has also been attempted at the state level. […]  Crtitics say bills like these could also criminalize in vitro fertilization. Both the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and Resolve oppose personhood legislation. ‘If one of these passes and a physician or lab tech drops an embryo on the floor, have they just committed homicide? Manslaughter?’ asked Sean Tipton, spokesman for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. ‘In a typical in vitro cycle, there’s more than one embryo created,’ explained Dr. Daniel Shapiro, a fertility specialist with Reproductive Biology Associates. He appeared last weekend on ‘Sanjay Gupta, MD’ to discuss the issue with CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Shapiro went on, ‘If you’re being safe and cautious, you only put one embryo — at most two — back into a patient at a time. So what happens with the leftover embryos? Many of them are frozen, and many of them are never used.’ Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, agrees that a personhood statute would change IVF. Personhood USA is a national organization supporting personhood efforts at the state and national level. ‘I do believe that declaring a pre-born baby could impact IVF,’ Mason said. He added, ‘In creating 30 to 60 embryos, and then choosing three or four embryos, that’s selective reduction. I think these practices would be affected.’” CNN, 8/30/12]

[6] A “Personhood” Measure “Would Grant Legal Protections To A Fertilized Human Egg And Possibly Ban Some Forms Of Birth Control.”  “The Republican candidates also say the state has the authority to ban contraceptives and favor a ‘personhood’ constitutional amendment that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and possibly ban some forms of birth control.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 1/31/14]

[7] Under A Personhood Measure, “Some Forms Of Birth Control Could Be Construed As Murder.” “The concept of personhood is a fundamental tenet of the anti-abortion movement, and under this definition, abortion and some forms of birth control could be construed as murder.” [New York Times, 8/12/12]

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