Keith Mason is, together with Cal Zastrow, the founder of Personhood USA, an anti-abortion organization that seeks to (legally) define the term “Person” as starting from the moment of conception. The organization’s first target upon forming in 2008 was the Colorado Constitution (repeatedly unsuccessful), but they have expanded their target rapidly since then, with variable results. Mason is also affiliated with Operation Rescue.
Well, one thing is the goal. Another is the insane and tortured reasoning going into the campaigns to achieve those goals. “I think it’s important to note with the term fertilized egg, that’s the same thing as using the N word for an African American,” says Mason. It is not. According to Mason, however, it is so, “[b]ecause it’s a dehumanizing term and it’s not based in science.” Mason is not a scientist, which shows. Of Roe v. Wade, Mason maintains that “it’s a bad law,” because “[i]t was not based in reason. They ignored the concept of the pre-born child being a person.” Since Mason’s critique of the phrase “fertilized egg” is that it is not “based in science”, it seems to follow that he thinks “pre-born person” is. Science and reason are not Mason’s strongest suits.
Of course, like so many anti-abortion activists, Mason’s prime target seems to be contraception, and in particular women controlling their own sexuality. Because religion. No surprise there.
Not surprisingly, Mason and Personhood USA are also supportive of a wide range of other religious rights issues, including anti-gay legislations. And like so many rightwing groups, they have also taken their agenda abroad, where various religion-based efforts to write discrimination and oppression into law may find more sympathetic audiences than in the US. Mason’s group is for instance active in fighting reproductive rights advances at the United Nations and has been pouring money into unspecified projects in Europe. Mason is also a regular at the fundamentalist anti-LGBT activist World Congress of Families.
Diagnosis: One can have a reasonable debate about the moral status of abortion, but not with Keith Mason, who is a deranged loon fueled by bigotry and fiery religious fanaticism. He and his group are certainly influential, however.