Aug 05 2019
Five Bills Would Protect Every Person’s Inalienable Rights
The founding of America was based on revolutionary, self-evident truths. Every human being has God-given and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The order is not an accident. Without life, the latter two are not possible. But, when it comes to abortion, our country fails to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us: unborn children.
Upholding the sanctity of life has always been one of my most important priorities as a public official. As a state senator, I authored legislation giving Mississippi the strongest restrictions on abortion of any state in the country. I continue that fight today with five bills I recently introduced or cosponsored in the United States Senate.
The first of these bills, the “Life at Conception Act of 2019,” declares all unborn children to be persons with the same dignity and rights as every other human being. This is a common-sense observation backed up as scientific fact.
The 14th Amendment to the United State Constitution prohibits depriving any “person” of life without due process. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade did not answer the question of whether or not the unborn are persons, denying this legal defense to those in the womb. The “Life at Conception Act of 2019” would answer that question and extend 14th Amendment protections to expected children.
Most Americans, even those who describe themselves as “pro-choice,” do not want taxpayer dollars to be used for abortions. Such funding is currently prohibited by an annual adoption of the Hyde Amendment. I am glad House Democrats were unsuccessful in eliminating the Hyde Amendment’s protections during recent budget negotiations, but this debate should not have to be repeated every year. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would make the Hyde Amendment permanent, requiring all groups receiving federal money to certify they will not provide or fund abortions.
Health-care providers have obligations to do no harm to any patient, especially if they are publically funded. That includes patients at any stage of development, including expectant mothers, their babies, the elderly, and the disabled. The “Patients’ Rights Act” would complement the previous measures by making it illegal for a federally-funded facility to deny care intentionally to those in need.
A similar prohibition in a bill I introduced called “The Patients First Act” would end federal support for the exploitation and destruction of human embryos for medical research. This bill would encourage research using adult stem cells, which have more potential for breakthroughs than embryonic stem cells.
Making Good on the Founding’s Promise
The pro-life cause is growing stronger. I have been encouraged to see larger crowds at the March for Life in D.C. every year – including hundreds of Mississippians. Public opinion polls are moving in the right direction, and scientific advances have the potential to persuade more Americans of the truths underpinning each of these pieces of legislation.
The Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 should not bind the American people from extending civil rights protections and making corrections in the future. Those of us who advocate for this cause understand we are involved a long fight.