I have heard the siren calls from numerous sources lately that claim abortion is an issue that should be left up to the states. This idea is coming partly from those who hold the absurd Roe v. Wade decision in contempt. They absolutely should hold that decision in contempt. The only supreme court decision in our nation’s history that is possibly worse than Roe is the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision of 1857. But what they have in common is the vile political declaration or implication that a certain class of people are non-persons.
As much as those who condemn Roe are to be applauded, the idea that the issue should be a matter for each individual state to decide deserves no such accolades.
Now, it is true that the 10th Amendment clearly states that any powers not granted to the federal government should be left to the states or the people, but the protection of innocent life is not one of them.
A portion of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
“Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
To condense the above quotation from the amendment where the right to life is concerned: nor shall any State deprive any person of life without due process of law. This condensed version of the relevant content of the 14th Amendment to abortion does not distort or misrepresent the amendment in any way. In other words, to say that no state shall deprive any person of life without due process is an accurate and faithful rendering of the law.
The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. Therefore, in effect, abortion has been illegal in the United States of America for over 150 years. The reason we can know this is true is that all unborn children are persons.
How do we know this? It’s a matter of simple logic: there no objective criteria for identifying any point in the development of a fetus where it is suddenly a person whereas it wasn’t a person before that point. This is the fundamental and irrefutable argument for the personhood of the unborn and against abortion. The direct implication is that killing an unborn person is murder.
The following conditions are not valid criteria for identifying the unborn as a person:
- A heartbeat
- The ability to feel pain
The above criteria are often cited as potential indicators of personhood. But they are all arbitrary, and cannot be defended on rational grounds. A criteria for establishing personhood must be objective, not subjective. If it is subjective, it’s invalid and cannot be normative, nor can any moral principles be based on it. Moral principles can only be based on objective criteria for personhood or they will be incoherent and unjust.
Since it is impossible to objectively determine personhood at any stage of fetal development, the only valid conclusion possible is that personhood begins at conception.
Now combine the above proof of personhood with the law of the land—the 14th Amendment. Since all unborn fetuses are persons, and all persons cannot be legally deprived of life without due process, abortion is legally murder all the way back to conception. Abortion is morally murder as well, but that is true regardless of whether the 14th Amendment ever existed. Now, notice here that abortion is not just murder all the way back to a detectable heartbeat. The heartbeat laws are a step in the right direction, but they fall short of the protection the unborn must have in this country if we are to be rationally consistent, and if we are to remain true to our laws and our conscience.
It is important at this point to remind ourselves again of where the law that protects unborn persons is found: in the United States Constitution. Since the law exists at the federal level, it is a foregone conclusion that abortion is not a matter for the states to decide for themselves, unless of course they want to enact legislation that affirms and enforces the federal law against it that already exists. Abortion is a federal matter, and therefore its prohibition should exist in all states without exception. Notice the 14th Amendment says “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life…” That means every state is obligated to comply, whether they have anti-abortion laws on the books or not.
It is troubling that there isn’t a nationally recognized awareness of this inescapable reality. There should be a general consensus in this nation that all persons deserve to be protected under the law. It shouldn’t even be an issue. It is only an issue because an enormous number of people in this country have lost the capacity for rational thought.
Furthermore, any intelligent American can recognize that this issue has nothing to do with “sexual freedom,” “reproductive rights,” “access to healthcare,” any vacuous concept of “choice” (no one has the right to “choose” to murder another human being), or authority over a “woman’s body.” It is abject cognitive dysfunction to fail to comprehend that there is an additional body involved—the one that belongs to the unborn person. Pro-life proponents have been saying this for years, but those whose cognitive functions have been compromised by the deleterious effects of left-wing ideology perceive this narrative as unintelligible static. This group includes the self-proclaimed morally superior political “experts” in the movie and members of the left-wing-dominated Democratic Party.
Some pro-life proponents have urged leaders in Washington to pass a Constitutional amendment to protect the life of the unborn. If they want to propel that agenda forward, I’m not going to stand in their way. But the truth is, we already have one.