Personhood is a branch of the pro-life movement that strives to achieve legal recognition and protection for every human being at every stage of development as legal "persons" with God-given, constitutionally protected rights. Personhood ultimately seeks to extend the equal protection of the law to preborn human beings and to all other vulnerable human beings at every stage of biological development. Unlike other pro-life approaches, proponents of personhood do not limit their activities to fighting abortion, but to all assaults upon the intrinsic dignity of the human person.
The Personhood movement is predominantly a Christian movement supported by both Protestant and Catholic individuals and churches. However, there are many secular adherents and proponents of personhood. The modern personhood movement arose from the opinion of Justice Blackmun in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton which unilaterally decided to deny the child in the womb the status of a legal person to justify the denial of their right to life. Among the early proponents of Personhood were the late constitutional law professor from Notre Dame, Charles Rice. In a 1983 essay, Professor Rice wrote that "[T]he solution to legalized abortion, in constitutional terms, is the restoration to our basic law of the principle that all human beings are persons. This was the key focus of the right-to-life movement from 1973 through 1980, which made headway because it was united in the conviction that, whatever differences might exist over wording of amendments, exceptions, etc., the essential remedy is the restoration of personhood." Other early proponents of personhood were Judie Brown, of the American Life League, John Archibold co-Founder of National Right to Life and Americans United for Life, Joe Scheidler Founder of the Pro-Life Action League, Princeton Professor Robert George and many more.
The Personhood Alliance represents state and national organizations that promote personhood measures throughout the United States as well as internationally. Other notable organizations that have promoted the personhood strategy are Personhood USA, a Colorado-based organization, which placed several constitutional initiatives on the statewide ballot from 2008 to 2014 and the American Life League one of the nation's oldest pro-life groups.
The Personhood movement is known for it's 100% pro-life ethic and insistence upon the equal protection of all human beings at every stage of development.