We considered recently the progress that the Pro-life movement is making in changing hearts (HERE). We pondered that over 61% of Americans want abortion to be illegal in most circumstances. In today’s paper is more hopeful news as three Southern States consider legislation that would outlaw abortion in most circumstances, and go so far as to declare that life begins with conception. Children in the womb thus have the same rights as child of any age.
If this legislation goes forward, there will surely be appeals that will likely wind up in the Supreme Court of the United States, and bring the debate on life and personhood back into focus.
That such bills would be moving forward, along with a steady growth of legal restrictions on abortion in a total of up to 39 States, would have been almost unthinkable 10 years ago. But increasingly, the absurdity of abortion becomes more and more obvious as medical science makes it clear that a unique human being comes into existence at conception. Attempting to fix the moment when life begins at any later time is pure fantasy, and more and more Americans know this. We have reached the point where it may be politically possible in three states to legally recognize this sure fact.
Not only can we thank medical science for this information, but profound credit it due to the prophetic voice of the pro-life movement in this country.
I want to share an article from Reuters News Agency and add comments. As usual, the original text is in bold, black, italics, and my comments are in plain red text. This is an excerpt, the full article is here: Louisiana House May Conisder Bill to Ban Abortion
By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – The Louisiana state House of Representatives on Tuesday evening was set to consider a bill that would ban abortions and launch a battle to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill by Republican state Rep. John LaBruzzo defines human life as beginning at the moment of conception and makes it a crime to terminate a pregnancy except when the birth would endanger the mother’s life. The measure would repeal previous state exceptions that allowed abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. This final point flows from personhood, doesn’t it. If the unborn child is a human person, then that person has a right to life, even when third parties have done terrible things related to him or her. A person does not lose their right to live based on the crimes of third parties.
“Our first intent is to save unborn babies’ lives,” LaBruzzo told Reuters. “Our second intent is to have an opportunity to mount a challenge that makes it to the Supreme Court.” Yes it is wonderful to see these mounting challenges. 150 years ago the absurdity of slavery began to occur to a nation founded on liberty and justice. We could no longer square our practice with our national vision, and so, support for slavery waned. Either all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or not. Slavery simply could not be justified in the light of that sweeping national premise.
Little by little, we are winning the battle in a similar way. Abortion is appearing increasingly absurd. That absurdity is increasingly clear in the light of what we know about when a distinct life begins, and what it therefore means to be a person, deserving of rights and respect. Assigning the beginning of human life to anything but the moment of conception is not only medically absurd, but appears to an increasing number of Americans to be purely arbitrary. “Arbitrary” is just another way of saying “unjust” in this case. The legal cases being brought forward about personhood are a wonderful focal instance of this insight. The only rational, legal basis for personhood is conception. The determination of any other time is an exercise of purely arbitrary and raw power where the State or the judiciary takes up the role of God. I am convinced that more and more Americans see it this way.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, said the bills are “a nationwide movement to erode women’s access to health care.” Abortion is not healthcare.
Louisiana joins two other Southern states — Mississippi and Alabama — in attempting the most stringent abortion restrictions seen in the nearly four decades since the landmark Supreme Court ruling making abortion legal. Notice the word “stringent.” Why not the word “protective” instead? Further I would replace the word “landmark” with something like “horrifying” or “infamous” or “flawed.” Sure, these words would make the report “biased,” but no less biased than words like “stringent” and “landmark” bias it.
Since the High Court in 1973 upheld a woman’s right to seek an abortion in Roe v. Wade, states have passed a wide range of abortion laws aimed at regulating when and under what circumstances a woman may obtain an abortion. No state has so far succeeded in banning abortion altogether, though many have tightened restrictions on the procedure in recent years.
According to the Guttmacher Institute in Washington, D.C., which conducts research and policy analysis related to reproductive health, 39 states prohibit abortions after a specified point in pregnancy. Many states also impose requirements ranging from minimum waiting periods to state-mandated counseling. That’s very impressive: 39 states have moved to limit abortion in some way. Pray God this is the slow but steady progress we need and that it will continue.
Elizabeth Nash, a public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, says about 14 states have this year made some attempt at limiting abortion. “We have seen the most abortion restrictions adopted in one year that we have ever seen,” she said. Praise God!
Two of the most aggressive efforts are under way in Alabama and Mississippi. The measures define life as beginning at conception and would ban abortion. The Alabama Senate approved its bill, which is now pending in the House, and Mississippi residents will vote on the issue in November. And if they pass, there is likely a sure trip to the Supreme Court for a kind of show-down on Roe. Even if these laws are upheld, it is conceivable Roe could also continue to stand in some form. But I am getting a sense that Roe’s days may be fast eroding. I hope too that, in the meantime, the bishops and local pastors in these states will work hard for passage, and ask for prayer and fasting. If things move to a nationwide level I hope too that prayer and fasting will be central weapons. Maybe American Catholics could pledge 50 million rosaries for the over 50 million abortions performed, as the cases move to the national level. Pray, Pray Pray!!
“What the bill says is that life begins at conception, and a baby who is pre-born should enjoy all the rights that a 1-day-old baby does.” Amen!