The response to the coronavirus outbreak has rightly been about protecting human life. As a nation, we have taken extraordinary steps to protect public health and save lives. However, there is a huge contradiction when it comes to human life in the womb. Many turn a blind eye every year to the millions of babies killed by abortion. We should show the same devotion to saving lives from abortion as we have shown when it comes to saving lives from the coronavirus.
Protecting life is one of my top priorities in Congress. I am honored to be the lead sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which defines human life as beginning at the moment of conception. This bill would require protection for the unborn under the 14th Amendment, which grants all citizens equal protection under the law and prevents them from being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Babies before birth would be entitled to legal protection under the Constitution as enforced by the states. This legislation would also set a standard for promoting and encouraging a culture of life.
This year marks the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which has led to the death of over 60 million babies. The National Right to Life Committee estimates there were approximately 862,320 abortions in just 2020. If passed, the Life at Conception Act would overturn the ill-conceived Roe v. Wade decision and save millions of lives.
Thanks to modern scientific advancements, we now can visually see and know the personhood of children in utero. Doctors can operate on babies in the womb to save their lives. Knowing they can feel the pain of surgery, these babies are given anesthesia. Ultrasound technologically has advanced considerably in recent decades, with three- and four-dimensional imaging introduced in the latter part of the 20th century.
Additionally, thanks to scientific advancements, the ability of premature babies to survive has moved up about a month and a half since 1973. Also, thanks to science, we know a baby’s heart starts to beat at about six weeks into pregnancy; nails begin to form starting at 10 weeks; and babies have fingerprints by 13 weeks. Our understanding of life and pregnancy has grown with scientific advancement, further confirming the humanity of children long before birth.
Protecting all human life should be a bipartisan issue. Even the newly inaugurated President Biden agrees with me that life begins at conception. As recently as Oct. 11, 2012, during the vice presidential debate in that year’s election, Biden repeated his long-held view saying, “With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position that life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.”
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court denied the humanity of children prior to birth when it legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. Justice Blackmun, who authored the decision, essentially said that it was not up to the Judiciary to state when life begins. Yet importantly, he did acknowledge that the decision to legalize abortion “collapses” when the definition of life in the womb is established.
If Congress were to acknowledge that human life begins at conception as a matter of federal law, then constitutional rights would be granted to the pre-born. The Life at Conception Act would do just, extending legal personhood to the unborn under the 14th Amendment and overturn the central ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Last year, my Life at Conception Act had 157 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a unique moment in time for the pro-life movement, and I’m excited to see where this momentum takes us.
There is no “right to abortion” in the U.S. Constitution. The word “abortion” is never even mentioned in the Constitution. I believe in the sanctity of all human life, and that includes human life in every mother’s womb.
Respecting all human life from the moment of conception until natural death is not simply a religious belief. It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception. Together, let’s stand in defense of all human life, before and after birth. Let’s give a voice to the voiceless. The unborn are the most helpless among us, and they need our courage to stand up for their protection.