When does human life begin? Alabama might have just given us another chance to decide. Whatever point in time that is, will immediately put an unborn child on the same footing as his mother when it comes to whose rights get primacy of consideration.
Governor Kay Ivey has signed what is arguably the most restrictive abortion bill in these United States. Predictably, there has been a hue and cry from the left, with the ACLU promising immediate legal action. This is a good thing. But, before we get into that, let’s tidy up the battlefield on something.
The Abortion discussion, like most of the issues dividing conservatives and folks on the left, is greatly affected by the terms of the debate. Sometimes our own team members unwittingly help the other side by using their terms. This new Alabama law does not grant personhood to a fetus. Human rights are not granted by government, but by Our Creator. Like the Bill of Rights, the Alabama law acknowledges the pre-existing right of personhood. Rights legally granted by the state can always be legally taken away. So let’s not fall into that trap.
My good friend and colleague Joe Cunningham mentioned yesterday, that this law appears to aim “For The Controversy Rather Than For Life.” I agree. I also believe that, with one caveat, that’s a good thing. Done right, this, along with other laws being passed by different states, will force us to finally determine as a nation the fundamental question that not one Supreme Court Case has come close to answering, “When does life begin?”
Because we have failed to answer this question as a society, either through negligence or deliberation, we’ve ended up with a one-sided discussion that leads to decisions that in some cases, a fetus is only a baby, if the mother wants it. I actually had this conversation with a client yesterday. When I asked her when does a fetus become a baby, her response was, “If the mother wants to have it, then at conception.” So a human is only a human if his/her mother wants him/her. It’s not too far a stretch from there to the sitting governor of a state claiming that it’s OK to kill a baby that survives an abortion, after, of course, making him/her comfortable while determining the mother’s desires.
By prohibiting abortions from conception, with the only exception being the health of the mother, Alabama has possibly set the stage for getting this question answered—and doing it in such a manner that also protects states’ rights. How so?
First of all, Murder is a state crime.
There is no general murder statute at the Federal level. Although there is a murder statute at the Federal level, generally, murders are prosecuted by the states, severally.** However, a person’s civil rights are first and foremost a Federal issue. We have a whole Bill of Rights that says so.
How do we reconcile the conflict? Simple. We answer the Federal question, “When does a Human come into being and enjoy the fundamental right to live?” My position is—at conception.
But, that’s not my decision to make. It’s society’s, preferably through the legislative process. Because we left this to the courts and their tortuous processes, penumbras, and emanations, that question has yet to be determined—until now with Alabama’s legislative effort, sure to be appealed. As this runs its course, our ultimate objective is a societal decision that life begins at conception and all God-given and constitutionally recognized rights obtain from that point.
I stated Alabama’s decision is a good thing, with one caveat: the timing. My only concern is that this case makes it to the Supreme Court before President Trump has the chance to appoint another one or two constitutionalists to the bench. Time will tell. If there’s some critical aspect of this I failed to address, please let me know in the comments.
**One of my commenters caught me out here. I had thought that only the states had murder statutes. I was wrong. Here is the Federal statute: Good catch, Archer! You’ve proven what I always thought…Streiff has more followers than I…but mine are much smarter.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.
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