As we ring in the New Year and begin the 111th Congress, the need to protect the unborn remains front and center in the national political debate. Each year, in keeping with my promise to my constituents, the first bill I introduce provides Constitutional protections to unborn children.

Yesterday, I was proud to introduce the Sanctity of Human Life Act that defines life as beginning at fertilization with the creation of a human zygote. As a physician, I understand the medical and scientific truths that life begins at conception. I also understand that the entire abortion debate rests on the decision of when life begins. That’s why my bill, among other things, says unequivocally that, at the moment of fertilization, a human life begins and must be protected by law.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist 39, the form of our government must be reconcilable with the fundamental principles of the revolution. First among those principles is the right to life. If a nation will not protect the most innocent of human beings, what will it protect?

Concerned citizens and lawmakers must keep this fundamental principle in mind as we work fervently to protect the rights of the unborn. When I was a full-time doctor, I served on a board of directors for a crisis pregnancy center in the inner city of Atlanta which fought to save the babies of underprivileged moms. Now, as a United States Representative, I am using the tools my constituents have blessed me with to protect life and give Constitutional protections to the innocent unborn.

My bill, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, gives Republicans and Democrats alike who cherish life an opportunity to protect and defend the innocent and most defenseless among us.