January 30, 2009

Maryland Delegate proposes Personhood Amendment for state Constitution

Lawmaker wants to open public debate on ‘the glory of life’
Delegate proposes Personhood Amendment for state Constitution

Kevin SpradlinCumberland Times-News [ Maryland ]
January 30, 2009

— CUMBERLAND — A Republican lawmaker from Anne Arundel County is building support for a
Personhood Amendment to the state Constitution and plans to introduce a bill “to a somewhat reluctant legislature” as soon as next week.

Delegate Don Dwyer of Glen Burnie discussed some of the finer points of his draft legislation late Wednesday during a conference call organized by supporters from across the country. The call took place less than a week after the 36th annual March for Life in Washington.

“My goal in this whole thing is to open up the public debate on the majesty, the magnificence and the glory of life,” Dwyer said. “I want to force my colleagues to have to recognize that based on science, not rhetoric ... that there is no doubt that that is not mere tissue in a womb ... that is a human being in the process of development by the miracle of life.”

Dwyer said Delegates Wendell Beitzel and LeRoy Myers, both of whom represent portions of Allegany County, are two of more than two dozen supporters of the legislation. But the Judiciary Committee member is in a unique position to understand just what obstacles he faces among colleagues in Annapolis.

“The majority of members of the legislature ... are absolutely adamant pro-choicers,” Dwyer said. “There are going to be some people who do not want to have to look at the fact that life begins at conception.”

Western Maryland appears supportive of his cause. Many of those pro-choice votes come from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City, Dwyer said.

“The challenge there is going to be to mobilize the Christian base in each of those jurisdictions to look at this issue,” Dwyer said. “That’s a process that’s going to take some time.”

Dwyer said Delegate Joseph Vallario Jr., Judiciary Committee chairman, “committed to me (Tuesday) that he will not stop me or try in any way to impede a public hearing.”

Supporters and those who have advocated a similar amendment at the federal level or in different states helped Dwyer fine-tune some of the language during the call.


Dwyer insisted the focus of his bill is on life and not an anti-abortion stance.

“That’s not at all what I’m going to be focusing on,” he said. “I’m going to talk about life. Abortion isn’t going to be a word I’m going to use in any of my public discussion.”

Admittedly, during private audiences, Dwyer will discuss “the culture of death,” a phrase borrowed from a supporter on the issue. Dwyer said it makes sense society would be numb to “kill the unborn in the womb”
when people are regularly exposed to modern music, news broadcasts and videos that appear to condone and glorify such activity.

Contact Kevin Spradlin at kspradlin@times-news.com.

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