Keith Mason

Personhood Group Thanks Joni Ernst For Sticking With Them On Toxic Issue

Personhood USA is not used to electoral victories.

On Tuesday, the Colorado-based group failed for the third time to pass a ballot measure granting legal rights to zygotes in its home state. It consoled itself that at least the measure — whose scope had been somewhat narrowed in an effort to attract voters — lost less badly than it had in the past.

Adding insult to injury, Colorado’s successful Republican Senate candidate, Cory Gardner, had renounced his support for the amendment and started lying about the fact that he was still supporting a similar measure in the U.S. House, causing Personhood USA’s head, Keith Mason, to joke about dressing up as someone stabbed in the back by Gardner for Halloween.

But the group did find one thing to be very happy about this week. In a press release that serves as a barely veiled dig at Gardner, Personhood USA congratulates successful Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst “for defending personhood during [a] principled Senate victory.” After falsely claiming in a debate that a state-level personhood bill she supported wouldn’t actually do anything but instead was just a symbolic “statement,” Ernst later confirmed that she would in fact support a federal-level personhood bill.

Personhood USA cites Ernst’s support for their cause to encourage Republican presidential candidates vying to win the Iowa caucuses to embrace similarly radical anti-choice stands:

"Joni Ernst didn't just say she was pro-life, she actually had the courage to act pro-life," said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. "After all, supporting personhood rights for the unborn is what it means to be pro-life. By doubling down on her support for personhood and energizing her pro-life base, she was able to win her race by a wide margin."

Ernst's victory sends a clear message to potential Republican presidential candidates who want to win the Iowa caucuses. In June, a personhood resolution on the South Carolina GOP ballot won by a landslide with 79% support from voters.

"Republican presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa and South Carolina should pay attention to the grassroots majority who want a candidate that acts pro-life," Mason continued. "Ernst's margin of victory is further confirmation that courageous integrity and fidelity to core pro-life values are a winning combination. While some other candidates narrowly eked by after turning their backs on their pro-life constituencies, Ernst's unapologetic strategy reaped major dividends."

Ernst will hardly be alone as a personhood champion in Congress. A personhood bill sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul currently has 21 cosponsors in the Senate and a House bill has 132 cosponsors…including Gardner.

Personhood Leader's Halloween Costume: Stabbed In The Back By Cory Gardner

When he launched his bid for U.S. Senate, Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner dropped his previous support for his state’s radical anti-choice “personhood” amendment like a hot potato and has since been attempting to deny that he is sponsoring a similar bill at the federal level, saying that the bill does not exist.

This flip-flopping and evasion has brought Garner criticism from abortion rights advocates, but has also alienated his former allies in the “personhood” movement.

Jennifer Mason, the communications director for the Colorado-based Personhood USA, chalked up Gardner’s inconsistent stand on personhood to “bad political advice”: “Obviously [Gardner's] a victim of some bad political advice, there’s no reason for him to pull local support while he’s still 100 percent behind the federal amendment. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Then, Colorado reporter Jason Salzman wrote yesterday about a Halloween Twitter exchange he had with Keith Mason, the head of Personhood USA and Jennifer's husband, in which Mason declared that his “costume this year is a knife in my back” inscribed with Gardner’s initials:

 

Sadly, there are no pictures.

Personhood USA Joins Battle Over Anti-Choice Leadership In Georgia

The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA has waded into the very public battle over the anti-choice movement’s strategy that is playing out in Georgia.

Over the weekend, a long-running feud among abortion-rights opponents broke into a full civil war when the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest anti-choice group, cut its ties with Georgia Right to Life because of the Georgia group’s hardline, no-compromise strategy.

While all the major anti-choice groups share the same goal – criminalizing all abortions under nearly all circumstances – they differ in how to go about reaching that goal in a post-Roe v. Wade world. This came to a boil last year, when the House voted on a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the last minute, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor added rape and incest exemptions to the bill after the legislation’s chief sponsor, Trent Franks, stoked controversy when he said “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” The addition of rape and incest exceptions then caused the anti-choice movement to split.

National Right to Life supported the revised bill and included the vote on its congressional scorecard. But Georgia Right to Life, then the state affiliate of NRLC, opposed the revised bill because of its rape and incest exceptions and urged House members to “vote against this shameful legislation.” Two Georgia Republicans, including Rep. Paul Broun, who is now running for Senate, crossed party lines to vote against the bill, siding with Georgia Right to Life.

One of the loudest critics of Georgia Right to Life’s insubordination was Georgia-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who called the group the “Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement.” A few weeks ago, a new group with Erickson on its board sprung up with the goal of replacing Georgia Right to Life as the official state affiliate of NRLC. And this weekend, they succeeded, as NRLC cut ties with Georgia Right to Life and took on Erickson’s group, Georgia Life Alliance, in its place.

NRLC’s decision has served to further split the anti-choice movement. Yesterday, Personhood USA – the group behind radical “personhood” laws – waded into the fight, with its president Keith Mason issuing an open letter to NRLC saying that he was “shocked” by the group’s decision and giving it an ultimatum: “We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways.”

National Right to Life,

What does it mean to be pro-life? Is it about protecting every innocent human being or about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard? I was shocked when I read your decision to revoke affiliation with Georgia Right to Life.

….

It's time to decide what our standard is as a movement. If being pro-life is about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard and voting the party line, like Eric Cantor, then we will continue to enable political opportunists who have no interest in ending abortion. If it is about protecting the lives and inherent dignity of every unborn child -- Personhood -- then we will praise statesmen who adhere to that standard rather than reprimanding them. That was the standard set by the GOP platform and the legislative agenda endorsed in President Ronald Reagan's Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.

We are not enemies, but friends. We ought not be enemies, for we are allied in the same great struggle for human dignity. We seek unity with you toward that end. It is in your hands to decide which standard to follow. We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways. I ask you to reconsider your commitment to our movement's singular purpose and beg you to rededicate yourselves to protecting and defending Personhood for all, no matter the cost.

UPDATE (4/1/14): The personhood group American Right to Life, which makes no secret of its disdain for NRLC, has also  come out to defend Georgia Right to Life, writing in a press release that NRLC have "lost the vision for victory" and "ruined the term" "pro-life."

'This Is A Very Big Deal': Glenn Beck, Personhood USA, And Justina Pelletier

The other day we noted that, after months of coverage by Glenn Beck, the case of Justina Pelletier had suddenly exploded into a full-fledged Religious Right campaign this week, with Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver signing on as the family's new attorney while Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition (who was deeply involved in the Terri Schiavo case) began serving as a family's spokesman.

On top of that, Personhood USA has also gotten involved and is set to begin running television ads about the case on Fox News beginning today. The ads were put together by a right-wing media firm called Rapid Response TV on behalf of Personhood USA with funding provided by the same unnamed billionaire benefactor who has been bankrolling this entire campaign.

For technical legal reasons, the ads are being run by something called Revolution PAC, but as Rapid Response TV's president Bryan Hartong told Beck yesterday on his radio show, "the understanding is that anything that comes out of this is going to Personhood," meaning that all the names gathered or money raised will be handled by Personhood USA.

As Beck's The Blaze reported today, Personhood USA has also organized a call-in campaign to the Massachusetts court officials about the case:

A human rights group says it has organized people to make hundreds of calls to court officials asking them to “release Justina Pelletier,” the Connecticut teen at the center of an ongoing, high-profile custody battle.

Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said more than 500 calls have been made so far to the office of the Suffolk County Juvenile Court, which is overseeing the Pelletier case. The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody of the 15-year-old last year after doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital disagreed with her parents and another doctor’s diagnosis.

If the name of Keith Mason or his Personhood organization seem familiar to readers here, it is probably because he was the "manager of the Yes on 62 Campaign" back in 2010, which was the failed effort to pass a constitutional amendment in Colorado that would have granted "personhood" from the moment of fertilization in order to completely outlaw abortion and some forms of birth control.

The campaign was most remarkable for the ad campaigns that Personhood ran in support of the amendment, including comparing supporters of legal abortion to Nazis and even running a radio ad featuring a "fomer slave" who compared abortion to slavery:

I'm George Stevens and I'm a person. I was held as property as a child. Even before my birth I was called a slave in an America you wouldn't recognize. But folks like you helped me escape North to freedom and in 1864, I joined the infantry to fight for my country. I fought so all slaves would be recognized as persons, not property. And we won.

But today in Colorado, there are still people called property - children - just like I was. And that America you thought you wouldn't recognize is all around you and these children are being killed.

This November, vote "yes" on Amendment 62. Amendment 62 declares unborn children persons, not property. And that's the America I fought for.

So visit PersonhoodColorado.com and in November, vote "yes" on 62. It's the right thing to do.

Amazingly, that was not even the most radical ad the organization ran during the campaign, producing one that literally likened President Obama to the Angel of Death:

As Beck declared on his radio broadcast yesterday, "this is a very big deal" not only because Justina's life and health at stake, but Beck thinks that this case is also the key to stopping things like Common Core and progressivism in general once and for all.

"Thank you Lord," Beck said. "Quite honestly, thank you Lord for this Justina case because maybe perhaps this is a blessing because we will all wake up and we'll be able to stop it before it's too late":

Leading Anti-Choice Activist says Romney 'Did The Same Thing' as Obama on Contraception

Personhood USA president Keith Mason spoke to Janet Mefferd on Monday to cast doubt on Romney’s record on reproductive rights and stem-cell research, addressing Romney’s consistency, or lack thereof, on abortion rights and stem-cell research, role in health care reform in Massachusetts, and views on mandating hospitals to distribute emergency contraceptive pills. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life,” Mason said, arguing that Romney’s move on contraception coverage was no different from the Obama administration’s stance:

Mefferd: When you look at his record back in Massachusetts, he talks about a pro-life conversion but it is very confusing I think for a lot of pro-lifers to look at what he did in Massachusetts and feel totally comfortable with where he actually stands versus what he says. Where do you come down on his pro-life record in Massachusetts and where he stands now?

Mason: At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life. I guess I could be blunt; I could go through a list. We have RomneyCare as a starter, in Romney Care he used his veto powers in eight different ways but he didn’t use those veto powers to veto the $50 co-pay abortions that are within RomneyCare. Then after that even in 2004 we have a bill that he says he had a pro-life conversion so he vetoed a bill against embryonic stem-cell research and then he signed a bill later allowing for stem-cell research by embryos leftover from IVF clinics. That’s not that convincing to me either.

As far as the morning after pill goes, we have a bill that he vetoed, which is part of his pro-life conversion, he used it sort of for his credentials, for expanded access to the morning after pill. But then just three months later he signed a bill that even expanded it even farther than that, than it was being implemented at the time. Then even against his legal team’s advice he signed an executive order mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute the morning-after pill. With all these rallies, which I’ll participated on the 8th with religious freedom sort of to send the message to the Obama administration to not trample on that, the guy that we’re supposed to rally around sort of did the same thing.

As William Saletan points out in a Slate article documenting Romney’s constantly changing story about his “conversion” on the abortion issue, Romney claims to have stopped supporting abortion rights after he was troubled by a meeting regarding the ethics of embryo research, but after coming out against reproductive choice he continued to favor research on surplus IVF embryos. And despite Romney’s assertion that “every time as governor” he “came down on the side of life,” he said in a 2005 interview (after his supposed change of views) that he would veto any bill about abortion, “whether it’s pro-life or pro-choice.”

The Massachusetts-based Catholic Action League criticized Romney for enforcing his private counsel’s opinion mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute emergency contraceptive pills, claiming, “The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration.” Later, Romney said he personally supported his counsel’s view. During the presidential campaign, however, Romney described the Obama administration’s opposition to exempting health workers from distributing contraceptives as part of “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

 

Santorum Accepts, Romney Declines Invitation to Religious Right Forum Hosted by Gingrich Campaign Co-Chair

To the surprise of nobody, Mitt Romney is ignoring an invitation to participate in the presidential candidate forum at Liberty Counsel’s Florida Awake! conference on Saturday. So far, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have accepted the invitation, while Ron Paul respectfully declined because he will be outside of Florida at the time. Romney has already skipped the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa and two Personhood USA forums, and his decision to skip the Liberty Counsel debate earned him a rebuke from Personhood USA, even though Romney at one point endorsed the group’s extreme anti-choice legislation. The slam from Personhood USA, a cosponsor of the forum, implied that he wouldn’t be a strong opponent of abortion rights:

Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Rick Santorum are confirmed to participate in Florida Awake! Congressman Ron Paul regretfully declined, as he is not scheduled to be campaigning in Florida at that time. The event is already sold out, with over 1800 tickets reserved.

Governor Romney, again expressly invited, has again neglected to notify organizers of his willingness or disinclination to participate.

"Following President Obama's statement celebrating the Roe v. Wade decision -- effectively celebrating the deliberate killing of 54 million innocent American citizens -- Personhood USA recognizes the urgency of ensuring that we know where our candidates stand," stated Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. "We need a president who values life, and will defend the innocent in word and in deed. We certainly don't need a candidate who cares nothing for the Sanctity of Life, nor one who will join President Obama in celebrating the deaths of millions.'

But Romney may have a not terrible reason for skipping the forum led by Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, as Staver is Co-Chair of the Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition. Staver endorsed Gingrich earlier this month, calling him the “clear choice for conservatives.”

While Romney’s decision to not participate is nothing new, it is far more bizarre that Santorum would accept the invitation to a forum hosted and moderated by a Gingrich campaign leader.

Bachmann to Personhood USA: Ending Abortion 'Is What I Would Literally Die For'

It is remarkable to realize how, in just a few years and despite repeated losses, the "personhood" movement has gone from a fringe effort that had no support to a central part of the Republican presidential primary.

When the first personhood effort in Colorado got trounced at the polls in 2008, anti-choice groups ranging from National Right to Life and Americans United for Life to the Eagle Forum all refused to support these sorts of amendments.

But this year nearly the entire Religious Right movement got behind the personhood effort in Mississippi ... which likewise failed miserably.  Nonetheless, the movement vows to press forward and has even managed to get nearly all of the leading Republican presidential candidates to sign a pledge promising to support both state and federal personhood amendments.

Last night, Personhood USA and a gaggle of Religious Right anti-choice groups hosted a "Pro-life Tele-Town Hall and Radio Simulcast" that featured Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry being interviewed by Iowa radio show host Steve Deace and Personhood USA's Keith Mason.

Each candidate received roughly ten minutes to proclaim their anti-choice bona fides and assure those listening that, if elected, they would do everything in their power to outlaw abortion. Rick Santorum even went so far as to declare that presidential candidates should not even be saying they "believe" life begins at conception because it is not a belief, it is a scientific fact:

I want to make sure that everybody understands that when politicians say "I believe life begins at conception," that is conceding ground. And the ground that we concede is by using the term "believe." Life beginning at conception is not a belief, it is not an article of faith, it is an article of fact. It's a biological fact that life, in fact, begins as conception and we need to begin to understand that we have to use language that is consistent with what the truth is. 

While each of the candidates used the call as an opportunity to highlight their anti-abortion views and agenda, none of the candidates could hold a candle to Michele Bachmann, who made it quite clear that outlawing abortion has been her life's work ... one she is willing to die to see happen:

I want everyone to know that I recognize and respect the dignity of every human life from conception until natural death. This is not a check the box thing for me; this is the core of my conviction, this is what I would literally die for. We have a moral obligation to defend other people and the reason for that is because each human being is made in the image of likeness of a holy God.

Some of the most elegant words about life came to us from the Declaration of Independence and ti says that God has given us our right to life, and we know that President Obama has a war on the family.

What we need to do to end Roe v. Wade and end that horrible holocaust in the United States of life is to pass the Personhood Amendment. I am the first person to sign Personhood USA's pledge, and I am proud to say that, to define life from the moment of conception. We don't have to wait for the Supreme Court; we can be involved in this ourselves and I am thrilled to have signed the Personhood Amendment.

As President of the United States, I won't just talk this talk, I won't relegate pro-lifers to the corner and pat them on the head, I will actually do something about it and I will veto any congressional attempt to provide federal funding of abortion. That's why I led 40,000 Americans to the United States capitol to block Obamacare.

I'm 55, since I've been 19 I've been very active in the pro-life movement. I get it. This isn't a check the box issue for me; this is life itself. The one thing we can't get wrong in this election is the life issue. Too many times we have been relegated to the corner - I will not, as president I will actively pursue the personhood legislation.

Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum to Participate in Forum hosted by Radical Anti-Choice Activists

Republican presidential candidiates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have signed on for a “Presidential Pro-Life Forum” hosted by Personhood USA and moderated by Iowa conservative radio personality Steve Deace. The three candidates along with Rick Perry have already announced their support for personhood laws.

Personhood USA wants abortion and even common forms of birth control banned without exception, and personhood laws may even outlaw in-vitro fertilization and the treatment of problem pregnancies. The group launched unsuccessful referendums in Colorado and Mississippi, and has characterized President Obama as the “Angel of Death” and likened opponents to Nazis.

The other organizations listed as hosts of the forum are just as radical, if not more so.

The Call is led by Lou Engle, who has claimed that legal abortion may lead to civil war and is responsible for the Joplin tornado. Engle has also used his The Call prayer rally to bolster Ugandan legislation that would criminalize and in some cases give the death penalty for homosexuals. Moreover, Engle has compared gay rights to Nazism, advocated for Seven Mountains dominionism, and said that both gays and Muslims are demonic.

Another organization hosting the forum is the Oak Initiative, a project of South Carolina pastor Rick Joyner, who has argued that God will imminently destroy California, Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment for homosexuality, “extremist Islam” is God’s judgment for “perversions” and “abortions,” and that very soon “God’s judgment is going to come upon Hollywood.” Joyner also believes that President Obama may be a Muslim and that Muslims are trying to take control of Michigan, school textbooks and Christianity. Like Engle, Joyner is a proponent of Seven Mountains dominionism.

Both Engle and Joyner are closely affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation, which believes that God is raising up modern day apostles and prophets, and another cosponsor, the Freedom Federation, includes the NAR groups Generals International, led by the self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs, and Harvest International Ministries of self-proclaimed apostle Che Ahn.

Three Republican candidates for the nation’s high office including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich have confirmed their participation in the Presidential Pro-Life Forum on Tuesday, December 27, from 8:00 to 9:30 pm CST. The national tele-town hall and radio simulcast will be hosted by Personhood USA and their partner organizations: National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, Liberty Counsel, Bott Radio Network, Freedom Federation, Frederick Douglass Foundation, Champion the Vote, Oak Initiative, The Call, Georgia Right to Life, Rock for Life, and Iowa Right to Life. An invitation has been extended to the remaining GOP presidential candidates.

The 90-minute pro-life tele-town hall will feature the candidates discussing their views on the rights of the preborn and other issues of great importance to pro-life voters. Pro-life groups around the nation are inviting their members to attend. Callers will have an opportunity to ask questions via email and give instant feedback to thoughts and ideas shared.

Nationally-syndicated radio host Steve Deace, whose influence in the Iowa Caucuses has been highlighted by numerous national media outlets, will broadcast the event live on his Salem Network program. Last week, four candidates, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, and Gov. Rick Perry, signed Personhood USA’s Personhood Republican Candidate Pledge, declaring their intentions to stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death.”

“We’re pleased to see the candidates standing for the rights of every person to live, love, and be loved. The time has come to end the 40-year reign of the abortion industry, once and for all,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “This is an opportunity for everyone who understands that ‘all men are created equal’ to hear from the candidates their plans to recognize the most fundamental rights of every human being, no matter their age. Come, take advantage of this interactive and important event, and be a voice for the voiceless.”
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