Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been making the headlines recently for his Mr. Smith-style filibuster in the Senate. The topic was combat drone use against American citizens. Clearly he felt strongly about receiving more information regarding whether or not the U.S. government would be willing to use drones to attack citizens, strongly enough to stand and talk for nearly 13 hours. Now Paul is continuing his crusade for protecting the right to life through a senate bill, S.583 proposal called “The Life at Conception Act.” The bill doesn’t propose new legislation, but attempts to legally piggyback on the provisions of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states, in part:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; 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.
Essentially, Paul is trying to make it legally defined that life begins at conception, thereby outlawing all abortion because it would be infringing upon the right of life, guaranteed and protected by the 14th Constitutional Amendment.
I admire his effort, as I do believe in the right to life. In fact, I believe that life is the purpose of life. Sounds funny to say it, but that’s what it is. The purpose of life, in my belief, is to experience life and provide opportunity for others to experience life, by following what I believe to be a God-given mandate to establish families. That can be argued around personal beliefs, but I think even evolutionist believe there is a purpose of life to propagate the species and extend your own DNA.
As I said, I admire Senator Paul’s effort, and I agree in the right to life, however, I worry about the need to make this clarification by law. Also, as in all extremes, I worry about the potential, possibly unexpected consequence of such a law as he is proposing. I do not advocate for abortion, but I do fall in with the base of thinking that in the case of incest, rape or mother’s mortality abortion could be considered. Some call it hypocritical to have any case where abortion could be considered. Maybe they are right. But I don’t think that a reasonable argument can be made to say that an elective abortion because contraception failed, or wasn’t even attempted, is the same as allowing an abortion in the instance of conception after rape, for instance. It is a difficult topic to consider, and likely one that isn’t fully understood until it is experienced firsthand or through family or close friend relationships.
I don’t know yet whether I would support Senator Paul’s bill. I don’t want the government to have laws over these types of issues; rather, I wish our society didn’t demand laws over these types of issues.
What it comes down to for me is a matter of personal responsibility and forethought of potential consequences. The choice is not whether to give birth or have an abortion, the choice was made already, the consequence is pregnancy. I support the right to life, ideally in a functioning family unit. The ideal isn’t always possible, but many other circumstances are often more preferable than the superficial ideal family unit. Not all parents are the same; simply having a married mother and father doesn’t mean the child is getting the best environment. Sometimes other situations are better.
In the end I’d like to see parents decide to have children and then decide to provide for them. I wish that children weren’t an after thought, or a status symbol, or a social project, or anything other than a treasured heritage. I don’t know if Rand Paul’s legislative actions will improve these matters, I expect they won’t, but maybe the awareness it raises will do something good for someone.
How would you vote on “The Life at Conception Act?”