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Wasserman Schultz "sounding alarm" on personhood movement, rips Romney

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tore into the movement to place "personhood" amendments on state ballots, including Florida, calling the effort "the most extreme assualt on a woman's right to choose in a generation."

Her Thursday comments come ahead of a decision by Mississippi voters on Proposition 26, an amendment that would deem any fertilized egg a person, on Tuesday. The Weston congresswoman said Democrats are watching a similar effort to gather signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment on Florida's 2012 ballot.

Getting the question on Florida's ballot would require 676,811 petitions. Senate President Mike Haridopolos has already signed a petition, his office confirmed last week.

"We're sounding the alarm bells now because it's absolutely critical that Floridians understand just how extreme this Personhood campaign is," said Wasserman Schultz, of Weston. "Even though we're a year away, and it's a 60 percent requirement for passage, we want to make sure that people are aware of this now so they don't sign the petition."

Brenda MacMenamin, Personhood Florida state coordinator, said her group has collected 20,000 signatures so far, about 50,000 short of the amount needed for a Supreme Court review for ballot access.

The drive is "hitting critical mass" with all of the attention on the personhood debate in recent months, which explains the strike from opponents like Wasserman Schultz, she said.

"They really do fear the growing movement and that really does validate what we're doing," she said.

Wasserman Schultz criticized Proposition 26 for its radical scope, as it would ban most methods of birth control, the "morning-after" pill, and IUDs, as well as abortion in cases of rape and incest. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suggested the proposal could have unintended consequences for families who rely on in vitro fertilization.

"As a mother, two of whose children were conceived through in vitro fertilization, I am outraged that anyone would block this procedure from prospective parents who definitely want to have children," she said.

She took aim at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. As a gubernatorial candidate, Romney assured abortion-rights activists that he would support a woman's right to choose, and that he could use his influence to bring a moderate's perspective against the GOP's hard-line anti-abortion stance, the Wasington Post  reported Wednesday.

That's a different perspective to an answer he gave Mike Huckabee on his Fox news show in October, who asked if Romney would support a constitutional amendment that defined life with conception.

His reponse: "Absolutely."

Wassmerman Schultz is crying flip-flop.

"He now supports taking away the very rights and protections he once believed in -- or once said he believed in," she said.

Buzz has requested comment from the Romney campaign.

Update from Romney spokesman Ryan Williams: "It's disgraceful that President Obama and his allies are more focused on attacking our campaign than they are on attacking unemployment that has skyrocketed under his watch."

Comments

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Brian Russell

Simply because she is female, this is about the only topic Debbie is qualified to comment on. She has finally found her niche' and should spend 100% of her time on it.

E. T. Bell

No man in government should decide on what a woman decides to do with her body. Be it give birth, or decide to have an abortion. This is her sole right, not some male politian spouting off on his beliefs. Her body, her decision!

Andrea

Fertilized eggs or embryos are POTENTIAL babies but 3-5 celled embryos cannot survive without implantation in a woman's uterus and a 'life-line' through her hormonal blood supply. So how can a fertilized egg on its own be considered a 'person.'

This 'personhood movement' also wants to have ectopic 'pregnancies'- IVF procedures and family planning (birth control) as illegal "abortions" with legal action taken against women who violate their mandates.

This 'movement' wants NO government control - EXCEPT when it comes to women's health rights!

rena raines

As a woman in Mississippi who is anxiously watching the news to see what is going going to happen with this proposition 26, you guys better pay attention, many of us let this sneak up on us and now we are fighting like hell to keep it from passing, and it's going to be close. IF it does pass here it will, unfortunately make it easier to get on the ballot, and maybe pass, like Florida. I am pro-life but this is not the way to go. History has taught us that the worst unintended consequences can come from the best of intentions. To define a fertilized egg (which happens 10 days BEFORE implantation) as a person is just beyond anything that makes sense. Other than a petri-dish there is no way to even test for fertilization, 30 to 70% of eggs that fertilize never even turn into a pregnancy, they do not implant, without implantation no pregnancy occurs and the egg is disposed of through a woman's period non the wiser. Yes this will end abortion but it will also effect: birth control, IVF and women's health care- and not just pregnant women.

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