WASHINGTON, DC, November 7, 2011 ( – An initiative to constitutionally define personhood as beginning at the moment of conception, which has been the source of some contention in the pro-life movement, has now received the backing of the Family Research Council (FRC), one of the United States’ most influential pro-life and pro-family organizations.

Ken Blackwell, a Senior Fellow at FRC, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that his organization supports the national push for “legislation that recognizes the human nature” of a human being from the moment of conception.

An effort to pass such personhood legislation in Colorado failed last year when voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment. A similar personhood measure will appear on the ballot in Mississippi Tuesday, where it is expected to pass. 


Many pro-life experts, including the National Right to Life Committee, have opposed personhood legislation on the grounds that a court challenge would be likely to succeed, setting anti-life judicial precedent that could make it harder to overturn Roe v. Wade in the future.

Blackwell explained, however, that he supported the measure as a way to legislatively define what science and public opinion already know: that human life begins at the moment of conception.

“What we have at the moment of conception is a small human being. It is not a glob of tissue. It is not something that can easily be dismissed, defined and discarded. It is a human being,” Blackwell said.

Asked about the legislation’s affect on the use of abortion-inducing contraceptives and fertility procedures such as in-vitro fertilization that often involve the destruction of fertilized eggs, Blackwell replied that such questions are not directly addressed by personhood legislation.

“There would be, I am sure, consistent arguments across the body politic about the questions you have raised,” he said. “What this leg would do would be to recognize that what we are talking about at the moment of conception is a human being and this would be consistent with science and consistent with a broad cross section of public opinion.”