WASHINGTON — A federal bill that would recognize the unborn as persons and subsequently provide protections to their right to life has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.
The “Life at Conception Act of 2016” was crafted by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and seeks to enshrine that the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of the laws applies to unborn children.
“[I]t is time for Congress to recognize the right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence, and it is the constitutional duty of all members of Congress to ensure this belief is upheld,” Sen. Paul said in a statement released on Thursday.
“The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore, is entitled to legal protection from that point forward,” he continued. “Only when America chooses, remembers and restores her respect for life will we rediscover our moral bearings and truly find our way.”
The Act is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-ID, Jim Inhofe, R-OK, and Jim Risch, R-ID and specifies that the protections apply to the “species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization or cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”
“[T]he Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being,” it reads.
The “Life at Conception Act,” however, notes that its language does not prohibit in vitro fertilization or the use of birth control, and should not be construed as mandating criminal actions against “any woman for the death of her unborn child.”
As previously reported, in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which was issued by a Republican majority, asserted that the Constitution does not include the unborn as being persons, and concluded that they may not therefore receive equal protection.
“The Constitution does not define ‘person’ in so many words,” wrote Justice Harry Blackmun. “[I]n nearly all these instances [where it is cited], the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.”
“All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn,” he continued. “In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”
However, Blackmun noted that if it could be proven that unborn babies truly are persons, abortion could come to an end in America.