Life at Conception
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 via abortion. We should show the same devotion to saving preborn babies 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 preborn 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. As a result, preborn babies 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 preborn children. 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 3D and 4D 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 preborn baby’s heart starts to beat at about six weeks, nails begin to form starting at ten weeks and babies have fingerprints by thirteen weeks. Our understanding of life and pregnancy has grown with scientific advancement, further confirming the humanity of preborn children.
Protecting all human life should be a bipartisan issue. Even the newly inaugurated President, Joe Biden, agrees with me that life begins at conception. As recently as October 11, 2012 during the Vice Presidential debate Joe 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 preborn children 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 began. 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 preborn. The Life at Conception Act would extend legal personhood to the preborn under the 14th Amendment and overturn the central ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Last year, my Life at Conception Act had 157 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including my colleagues, Representative David McKinley and Representative Carol Miller. 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. In fact, the word “abortion” is never even mentioned in the Constitution. Like most West Virginians, I believe in the sanctity of all human life, and that includes human life in their 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, born and preborn. Let’s give a voice to the voiceless. The preborn are the most helpless among us, and they need our courage to stand up for their protection.