The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet 406

"LIFE BEGINS AT_____ ???"
by Jim Rarey

Most politicians are loath to cast a vote they know will anger a sizable number of their constituents.
Such a situation occurred recently on H.R. 503, the
"Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2001."

The bill would make it a separate crime to injure or cause the death of a child
who is "in utero" (unborn) at the time of the conduct.
In other words,
it would be a separate crime to assault or kill a pregnant woman
that resulted in injury to or death of the unborn child.

The bill passed in the House of Representative by a vote of 252 to 172.

Although the bill specifically exempted abortions,
it was vigorously opposed by the National Organization of Women
(NOW) and other ""pro-choice" or "pro-abortion"
(take your choice of terms – pun intended) organizations.

Representative Lynn Rivers, 13th District Democrat of Ann Arbor, Michigan
(who voted against the bill)
explained her opposition at a recent coffee klatch with constituents in Wayne.

In essence, she objected to the bill’s granting of "personhood" to "fetuses"
which would undercut the pro-choice claim to the "right" to an abortion.
Rivers voted for an alternative bill
(which was defeated)
that would have increased penalties for assaults against pregnant women
but omitted reference to the unborn child or fetus.

Rivers has a point.
If life begins before birth, then abortion really is the killing of a human being.

Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in recent decades
since the controversial Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision,
which held that life did not begin until at least the third trimester of pregnancy.
Subsequent decisions have extended that to actual birth.

The U.S. Constitution does not give the Supreme Court the authority to "make law."
The implied power of "judicial review"
only empowers the court to decide in specific cases
whether a statute violates the Constitution.
Supreme Court decisions are "case law" not the "law of the land."

Of course, the power to legislate in matters of morals or religious dogma is also denied
to the Congress by the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.

There is no grant of power in the Constitution to any branch of the federal government
to establish when life begins.

However, governments do have the power to protect "persons"
from being killed by other individuals or "society"  as a whole.
Thus the question of "when does life begin?’ becomes central to the whole abortion debate.

Most Bible believers will say life begins at conception.

Others maintain life does not begin until the "fetus" is viable outside the womb.
To those, this writer would pose the question,
"Does this mean that life ends when it is no longer "viable" outside the womb,
e.g. when a person is comatose or on life support?"
That road leads to the sanctioning of involuntary euthanasia.

In the end each person must decide for himself or herself when life begins.

Most of us can agree that life,
whenever it begins,
should be protected.

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