Abortion Legislation Politics

National Personhood Alliance and Incrementalism

Recently a debate has sprung up in the pro-life movement about the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable legal incrementalism. The newly-formed National Personhood Alliance is promoting a version of incrementalism that excludes bills which explicitly mention exceptions where abortions would be allowed, such as rape and incest. Their argument is that any bill that explicitly excludes a category of unborn from the protection due to persons is immoral and unacceptable as a form of incrementalism. They do allow, however, bills that only protect some unborn, but do not mention exceptions. An example of this kind of bill would be the 20 week abortion ban. For the NPA, a bill is acceptable if it would not be overturned by a personhood-from-fertilization amendment.

The NPA works in cooperation with Personhood USA. According to, Notre Dame Law Professor Emeritus Charles Rice has endorsed the NPA, as has Catholic Bishop Kagan, of Bismarck, North Dakota.


Robert Gotcher is a dogmatic and moral theologian and long-time member of UFL who received his Ph.D. from Marquette University. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin.