I just received an annoying phone call with a pre-recorded message from Representative Steve King (R-Ohio) asking for contributions to promote a piece of legislation he's co-sponsoring. I'm not interested in giving him money, but I did look up the bill, and I like it.
H. R. 552 would officially declare that life begins at conception. That's basically all the bill actually does, but the implication of that is that all human life, including that of unborn fetuses, is therefore already protected under the 14th Amendment, which says (among other things) that the State cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
This is really the most sensible thing I've ever heard in the entire pro-life/pro-choice debate. The pro-choice side keeps trying to say that the issue is the mother's right to choose (to have an abortion), and it's not - it's not about the mother at all. The issue is whether the unborn child is a human being or not, because if it is, then that life is already legally protected, and therefore abortion must be illegal.
The most common question I've heard from pro-choice people is, what about cases of rape or incest? The answer to that is simple: it's not about the mother, it's about the child. It's not about the mother's right to choose, it's about the child's right to live. What about rape or incest should deprive the child of that right? Yes, rape is a disgusting and horrible crime; yes, it puts an unfair burden on the mother; no, that burden does not outweigh the right of the child not to be deprived of life.
There is one case in which I do support abortion: when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother. This doesn't happen frequently, but it does happen, and while I support the child's right to life, I equally support the mother's right to life. If this bill becomes law, I would like to see further legislation clarifying how that situation can be handled. If an unborn child must be killed in order to save the life of the mother (especially if the death of the mother would also result in the death of the child), it should be legal to make that exchange.
I would be interested in comments about this.