Image: Suparna Sinha / CC BY 2.0

Do premature citizens have Constitutional rights?

To the question, “Do premature U.S. citizens have constitutional rights?” the Senate just voted “no” after the House of Representatives, last fall, voted “yes” — both bodies voting almost entirely on party lines. The Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act, which would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks, failed to earn the 60 votes needed, receiving a majority of 51 but nine short. Only three Democrats Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin III (W. Va.) voted yes, but that may have been because Trump won their states in 2016 and they are up for reelection this year. Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), voted “no” with the Democrats.

There was no question where President Trump was on the issue.

“Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life,” Trump said. “We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society.” Prior to the vote he said, “There is no reason why this should be a partisan issue … I hope that my Democratic colleagues will not obstruct the Senate from taking up this bill.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I’m pleased … to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.”

The House passed the measure last October, 237 to 189, on similar party lines. President Trump thereafter pushed for a vote in the Senate banning abortions after 20 weeks when there is little question of the survivability of the baby outside the womb and most physicians felt that the human body inside did feel pain when aborted. To some degree this measure was already in place in 43 states.

Trump’s position on abortion is the strongest of any president since Ronald Reagan, who was the first to defend the unborn using the Declaration or Constitution. Reagan did so in his Proclamation of Personhood Jan. 14, 1988, when he wrote that the God-given right to life, identified in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right, extended to all humans whether born or not yet born and that the “right to life belongs equally to babies in the womb, babies born handicapped, and the elderly or infirm.” He continued to say that the right to exist, once existing, is defended in the Constitution under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, both declaring that, “no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.” Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 requires that the President swear an oath “to preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, and this includes protecting all persons irrespective of their age.

Reagan ended his proclamation with, “I will take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed for the protection of America’s unborn children. Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

Since Roe V. Wade, we have aborted 60,147,313 human beings in the U.S., 3,712 after 16-weeks gestation. A review of abortion pictures on the Internet shows tiny human body parts separated from the whole body, but these are depictions largely prior to 20-weeks of gestation when a scalpel was used to cut up the body, making it easier to expel.

To be clear that we are intentionally killing premature humans, the law of the land regarding partial-birth abortion is 18 U.S. Code 1531 which reads thusly: “The term ‘partial-birth abortion’ means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion—(A) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother or, in the case of breech presentation any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and (B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.”

In practice, and depicted graphically on the Internet, a physician inserts forceps into the womb, guided by ultrasound, and grabs an infant leg, pulling it into and out of the birth canal. When all but the head is outside the mother’s body, scissors are used to make a hole in the back of the infant’s head large enough to insert a tube that sucks out the brains and collapses the skull, killing what in a few seconds would be a living human baby. The breach method is favored as the baby is killed in the womb rather than outside, which feels too much like murder.

Although small, it is clearly a human, not just the tissue of an unfeeling fetus. And if it has Constitutional rights five seconds after birth, how could it not have them five seconds before?

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are supposed to apply to all, including citizens almost born, and Reagan/Trump defining partial-birth death as unconstitutional, even evil, is justified. When we finally get justices that use the Constitution as framed, it will protect even the babies. Then the darkness of killing those not fully born will be exposed and removed, and Planned Parenthood will not be secretly selling baby body parts for research.

The viewpoints expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of The Independent.

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