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senate Bill S. 231

Should Life be Legally Defined as Beginning at Conception?

Argument in favor

The time has come for Congress to recognize that the right to life is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution, including the unborn. By defining life as beginning at conception, this bill could negate the Supreme Court’s mistake in Roe v. Wade.

Harrison's Opinion
···
06/17/2017
All requirements are met for human life at conception: it is a living organism, it has human DNA and it has unique DNA, therefore it should be protected as any other human is
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06/17/2017
Let's strip away modern day Judeo-Christian beliefs for a moment and examine the issue more closely. Through the lens of a microscope. When we see the DNA forming the cells early-on that form the vital organs of a human, the same DNA is still working post-birth to continue to grow the same human. We think of a noisy and loud form of mass genocide being something like former-Nazi occupied Germany, former Yugoslavia, Syria and Rwanda, to name some examples we can all relate and despise. In this case, crazy dictators believed it was ok to stop the continued growing of humans: innocent men, women, girls and boys. However, the more quiet version of mass genocide is telling DNA to stop making a human because we (like a crazy dictator) are in a position to do so and therefore think it is ok. This is one of the most pernicious of lies ever foisted onto mankind. We are silly to think that a mother making a decision to abort is any different than a crazy dictator who wants to end a single life because they believe it's the right thing to do.
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Elizabeth 's Opinion
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06/17/2017
When an organism has its own genetic code, it is alive. They have a right to live and prosper in the freest country in the world. The real choice is to give them a chance. #ProLife #ProCHANCE
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Argument opposed

A fetus is not a person, and as such it shouldn’t receive the same legal protections as people who have already been born. This is another futile attempt to undermine the right of women to determine their own reproductive future.

scorpque's Opinion
···
06/17/2017
While I'm personally against abortion, I do believe that the decision should be made by the Mother, Father, and God. You can't legally abolish abortion while simultaneously removing birth control as a covered expense under healthcare. You can't say life begins at conception and then not protect the child for the rest of their life. You can't project holiness when living sinful lives.
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Lauren's Opinion
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06/17/2017
This is a disgusting attempt to nullify the women's movement and the rights to freedom and choice that women have fought to secure. When will politics stop attacking women's rights to safe, humane abortions and start treating them as first class citizens?
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Mauricio's Opinion
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06/17/2017
Can some enlightenment me? Why the vast majority of pro-life related legislation are proposed by Caucasian Males?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. 231?

This bill would give equal protections to born and unborn humans under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution — effectively banning abortions. It would not amend or interpret the Constitution, but instead rely on the following part of the 14th Amendment to extend protections to the unborn:

“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 or life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Following conception, an unborn person would be afforded the same legal protections as those who have already been born. Conception would be defined as the moment of fertilization or cloning, or:

"other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being."

Nothing in this bill is to be construed as:

  • requiring the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child, 
  • prohibiting in vitro fertilization, 
  • or prohibiting the use of birth control and other methods of contraception (or preventing fertilization).

Impact

Unborn humans, their parents, state governments, and Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 231

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) explained the rationale behind the introduction of this bill during the last session of Congress in an introductory press release:

“The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known - that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore, is entitled to legal protection from that point forward. Only when America chooses, remembers, and restores her respect for life will we rediscover our moral bearings and truly find our way.”

In the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun admitted that he wasn’t in a position to determine definitively when life begins. However, he made the following concession about the right to life and how it related to the case at hand:

“If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [i.e. “Roe” who sought the abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

By defining life as beginning at conception, this legislation would strike down the rationale used by the Supreme Court to allow women to access abortions. 

ThinkProgress noted that when Sen. Paul introduced this legislation in 2013, he granted that there would be complex and unique situations that couldn’t be immediately addressed from a legal standpoint in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:

“Well, there is going to be like I say thousands of extraneous situations where the life of the mother is involved… there would still be a lot of complicated things the law may not ultimately be able to address in the early stages of pregnancy that would have to be part of what occurs between the physician and the woman and the family.”

RH Reality Check Editor in Chief, Jodi Jacobson, argues that the idea of "life at conception," not only confuses the real issue of when personhood begins, but also dehumanizes women in general:  

"In the end, when you hear the phrase “life begins at conception,” remember the implications. In debating the 'personhood' of eggs, embryos, and fetuses prior to viability, we are also implicitly and explicitly debating the personhood of women. Because if you have no choice and  control over your body, you are less than an actual person in the eyes of the law. If the right is so worried about abortion the closer a pregnancy gets to viability, then anti-choicers would be making sure both contraception and early, safe abortion were widely available. That really is not their actual concern.
The development of a potential human life requires conception as a first step. But that is not the same as either pregnancy or personhood. You can’t reduce complex reality to a slogan, and when you try to do so, you actually minimize the personhood of women."

Currently this bill has six cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Sexy Eggs)

AKA

Life at Conception Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to implement equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States for the right to life of each born and preborn human person.

    All requirements are met for human life at conception: it is a living organism, it has human DNA and it has unique DNA, therefore it should be protected as any other human is
    Like (88)
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    While I'm personally against abortion, I do believe that the decision should be made by the Mother, Father, and God. You can't legally abolish abortion while simultaneously removing birth control as a covered expense under healthcare. You can't say life begins at conception and then not protect the child for the rest of their life. You can't project holiness when living sinful lives.
    Like (732)
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    So, let me get this straight. The same group of people that want to remove insurance protections for pre-existing conditions that might be carried to term, are removing the nutritional requirements from the only meals that some of these "begins at conception" children might have, have gutted funding for educational programming, are attempting to deconstruct the public education system that is already in disrepair; these people are suddenly concerned about "life"? No. This is not about "life". This is about pushing political agendas.
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    We get it, you hate women
    Like (603)
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    This is a disgusting attempt to nullify the women's movement and the rights to freedom and choice that women have fought to secure. When will politics stop attacking women's rights to safe, humane abortions and start treating them as first class citizens?
    Like (527)
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    Can some enlightenment me? Why the vast majority of pro-life related legislation are proposed by Caucasian Males?
    Like (402)
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    No, this is another attempt by Congressional Republicans to legislate belief. Roe vs Wade has established that abortions are legal only if the fetus is unable to live outside of the mother's womb with artificial assistance. Along with this decision Doe vs Bolton decided that a woman seeking an abortion has the right to privacy. In other words she, the pregnant woman, has control of this decision and her decision ain't none of our business. The Christian Right which is part of the extreme right believes that they have been anointed the keepers of our morality. (Not that they have a lot to spare.) They never address the issues that drive abortions and like the rest of their extreme right movement they are busy removing all social supports from healthcare to financial support for women and children. They want no responsibility for decisions that they are making but all the authority to dictate women's choices. When these sanctimonious people step forward and assume the burden of supporting the decision they want to make: having the baby themselves, paying the maternity cost, raising the child to adulthood with all cost involved and decisions involved and allowing someone else to dictate to them how they are going to accomplish that feat. Then may be women who want an abortion will be willing to listen. Until that day these religious hypocrites need to stay out of other people's business. This is between a woman, her doctor, her faith and her conscious. The feelings about this issue sorta like the Second Amendment only in this case the religious right wants to dictate another persons right to decide.
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    Slippery slope here. Whose life is more important? As I sit here, recovering from a nearly fatal ectopic pregnancy, whose life was more important? My life, as a wife and mother? Or the embryo that never even had a heartbeat and nearly killed me, rupturing my insides and causing me to internally bleed? And who caught it and went into immediate action to transfer me to one of the best hospitals in the state where I live for life saving surgery? None other than Planned Parenthood.
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    Until that child can live outside its mothers womb on its own, it is part of the mothers body. And she should have absolutely every right to make any decision she sees fit! End of discussion!
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    Absolutely not. Defining life beginning at conception would strip women of their rights and make them nothing more than vessels to carry babies. No no no.
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    Zygotes are not human beings. Even an early fetus is not recognisable as a human when compared with others at the same stage of gestation and it cannot survive out of the uterus. This is a thinly disguised, back-handed effort by pro-birth male zealots to undermine a woman's reproductive choice of certain forms of contraception and abortion. Reproductive health is a very personal choice and (as a women's health care provider) I have experienced the decision to terminate a pregnancy is rarely made lightly. Medical understanding and procedures change rapidly. Tomorrow a breakthrough could unhinge this whole scenario. The right to personal choice does not belong in the legislature. Get your hands off my body!
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    We already have abortions protected under Roe v Wade. We are protected from religious beliefs interfering with legislation under the first amendment. We cannot step backwards in progress!!!
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    It's as simple as society defines it. Your birthday is the day that you are born, not the day that you are conceived. You don't have any internal organs for weeks, even months after conception.
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    Life does not begin at conception. Just like an acorn is not a tree, an embryo is not a person.
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    How many of the authors/sponsors of this bull--I mean bill--are women?
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    Think about it. Is the date of birth on your birth certificate your conception date? No. Pre - natal abortion should be 100% legal. It is her body and her choice. If you are for women you are pro - choice. If you are for liberty you are pro - choice. Abortion saves the lives of countless women. Studies have actually proven abortion is safer then childbirth. In the U.K there was a piece that post - natal abortion should be legal. Why? Post - natal abortion is not murder either. If you have a failed abortion attempt you have the right to have another one. They should also make abortion free. Science is on the side of choice. Scientists like Laci Green and Bill Nye are pro - choice because science shows it saves lives. The bible is not an excuse for Republicans to be doing this. Citizens do not want the United States to be a theocracy. This also comes down to sexism. You don't see Republicans trying to limit men's body rights. Abortion is a constitutional right. States should have no power to tell people what to do with their body. And people that claim they are anti - government but then want the government telling women what to do with their body are hypocrites. Morally and scientifically there is no reason to say life begins ate conception. Science says life does not begin at conception. Fighting women on this will only take away from more important subjects like making sure the U.S is safe and making sure workers aren't be exploited by greed. Stop making this into a big deal. This is why we aren't number one in freedom rankings. A clump of cells is not more important than a woman's life. Why should it be treated as more important than a woman's life? Just because you want to? Sexism cannot and will not sit well with citizens. There is a reason so many people type with the hashtags that they stand with planned parenthood. They believe that women should have rights. And that is a common sense argument. We should also not be indoctrinating our kids with anti - abortion textbooks. Oklahoma does that. And shame on Oklahoma. The majority of people in polling say they are pro - choice. The rest of the world laughs at our stance on abortion. We should not be a laughing stock. So if you want us not to be a laughing stock that is another reason why the government should not be telling woman when life begins. Look at it legally as of right now. How about Republicans check their birth certificates and see what their date of birth is listed at. Woman should have control of their own body as a measure of freedom, liberty, equality, hope, dreams, opportunity, and morality. Pro - lifers do not have a moral point or scientific evidence for their stance. We need to work to stop the war on women. It is gross. In this country we should have progressed to the point that men and women are seen as equal. But Republicans don't see it as that way. It is just insane. For the good of the country do not say that life begins at conception. Because it does not. If you break it down layer by layer you just see the Republican position is based off of pure hatred. Misogyny will not be tolerated. Sexism will not be tolerated. Racism will not be tolerated. Ageism will not be tolerated. Ableism will not be tolerated. Xenophobia will not be tolerated. Homophobia will not be tolerated. Transphobia will not be tolerated. Biphobia will not be tolerated. Hate is not psomething that should be an American value. The pro choice politicians are the patriots. The pro life ones are the ones that are destroying families. We need bipartisanship. Shouldn't feminism and equality be bipartisan beliefs? Well in this country they are not and that is sad and hard too look at. These fools in congress do not know what their voters want. Congressmen need to start listening to their voters. Or they will be voted out. We will continue the Woman's March because women matter. Republicans treat them like they don't. They always try antagonizing women. Some examples are Kamala Harris, Gloria Steinem, Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton, Maggie Hassan, Laci Green, Anita Sarkeesian, Kashama Sawant, Diane Feinstein, Barbra Boxer, Chelsea Clinton, Michelle Obama, Lena Dunham, Maxine Waters. Those are just a few examples. The Republican Party clearly does not get the people. Every two years we get to vote. You can choose who your senators and who your representatives are. Republicans love to boast about American democracy. So they can continue boasting about it when they are elected out. The War on Choice is a war it is the Republican politicians vs. The American People. And we can only hope that the American people win it. We can win the war on choice. And it is not that hard too. Just go to the ballot and have your voices heard. Tell republicans you believe in freedom, equality and science.
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    So, let me get this straight. The same group of people that want to remove insurance protections for pre-existing conditions that might be carried to term, are removing the nutritional requirements from the only meals that some of these "begins at conception" children might have, have gutted funding for educational programming, are attempting to deconstruct the public education system that is already in disrepair; these people are suddenly concerned about "life"? No. This is not about "life". This is about pushing political agendas.
    Like (81)
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    Let's strip away modern day Judeo-Christian beliefs for a moment and examine the issue more closely. Through the lens of a microscope. When we see the DNA forming the cells early-on that form the vital organs of a human, the same DNA is still working post-birth to continue to grow the same human. We think of a noisy and loud form of mass genocide being something like former-Nazi occupied Germany, former Yugoslavia, Syria and Rwanda, to name some examples we can all relate and despise. In this case, crazy dictators believed it was ok to stop the continued growing of humans: innocent men, women, girls and boys. However, the more quiet version of mass genocide is telling DNA to stop making a human because we (like a crazy dictator) are in a position to do so and therefore think it is ok. This is one of the most pernicious of lies ever foisted onto mankind. We are silly to think that a mother making a decision to abort is any different than a crazy dictator who wants to end a single life because they believe it's the right thing to do.
    Like (77)
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    Life is not sustainable at conception. An embryo does not become life at that time. Stop with the defense of embryos and start with respecting what already lives. This is thoughtless, idiocy at its finest. Take away healthcare, punish the poor, degrade education and the planet, disrespect women and the elderly, pump up the wealthy, decimate the climate...and then this? You must be joking.
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    This is absolutely ridiculous. Sperm have olfactory senses, do you want to make masturbation illegal? Can't pretend to care about life in the womb when as soon as the child is born there's no guarantee his life will be valued as much by the government as it was inside the womb. Let's get back to talking about proper healthcare. Roe V Wade happened, get over it.
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