Sunday, November 9, 2014

Abortion is Unconstitutional

We too often hear that abortion is a right or that it is Constitutionally protected. These statements are simply not true. As we have shown earlier, one simply does not have the right to commit abortion because it takes the life of an innocent human being. Now, I would like to show that it is not protected by the United States Constitution either.

In fact, there are two different amendments to the Constitution which actually make abortion unconstitutional. Of course, I am referring to the 5th and the 14th amendments.

Here is the text of the 5th amendment:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."  
-- 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (emphasis added)

Note that this amendment is a bit lengthy and includes text which is not relevant to the issue of abortion. So let me clarify the pertinent parts:

"No person shall ... be deprived of life ... without due process of law; ..."

As you can see, this is perfectly consistent with the full text above. So I am not taking anything out of context when I point out that this amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that "No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law."

Now, let's take a look at the 14th amendment:

"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." 
-- 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Section 1 (emphasis added)

This is the full text of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, and it also addresses topics which are not pertinent to the right to life issue. So here are the pertinent parts:

"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, ..., without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Note that although this amendment begins with a reference to "All persons born or naturalized," the parts which are pertinent to the right to life issue are NOT so prefaced and do NOT rest on that premise. In fact, the text is separated by a semicolon which isolates the pertinent text from earlier topics (such as citizenship) which were addressed and which are so prefaced.

Now, IF the latter portion of this amendment stated that "no state shall deprive any 'citizen' of life,...," then that statement would rest on the stated requirements of citizenship. However, this amendment clearly and intentionally does not do so. Rather, the text clearly states that  "no state shall deprive any 'person' of life, ...." This fact is a clear and profound rejection of the idea that citizenship or birth is required for the protection of life.

Furthermore, this amendment also states that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." So not only is the right to life specifically protected, this amendment also makes the more general equal protection under the law a Constitutionally protected right.

This much alone should be sufficient to show that abortion is thoroughly unconstitutional. Unfortunately, some people try to defend abortion by expressing their opinion  that only born human beings are "persons." As we have shown earlier, this is an irrational proposition.

Furthermore, neither of these amendments define personhood in any way that is consistent with that opinion, and I find it telling that these people wish to redefine "person" in such a way as to include themselves while excluding those other human beings that they wish to be allowed to kill.

If "person" and "human being" are distinguishable, then proponents of that view should present objective evidence of that distinction, and provide an objective, scientific test by which we can objectively determine just when a human being has developed into a person. Without such an objective test, this distinction is meaningless and cannot be objectively implemented (i.e. in law). Of course, no such objective personhood test exists, and those who try to make the unsubstantiated distinction between humanity and personhood do so arbitrarily and without any objective support.

Finally, let me direct the reader to Webster's Dictionary of 1828. The English language has evolved somewhat since these amendments to U.S. Constitution were adopted. The 5th Amendment was adopted along with the rest of the Bill of Rights in 1791, and the 14th Amendment was adopted just after the Civil War in 1868. Thus, it is important to determine how "person" was used in those times. Webster's Dictionary of 1828 provides an excellent and timely resource for answering such questions.
Definition 1: "An individual human being consisting of body and soul. We apply the word to living beings only, possessed of a rational nature; the body when dead is not called a person It is applied alike to a man, woman or child."
Definition 2: "A man, woman or child, considered as opposed to things, or distinct from them."
Definition 3: "A human being, considered with respect to the living body or corporeal existence only."
Definition 4: "A human being, indefinitely; one; a man."
These are the first four definitions for "person" provided, and it is clear from them that birth is not considered in any of these definitions. Nor do any other character traits enter into these definitions. Although many modern critics try to invent criteria for personhood which exclude those who haven't been born, this dictionary does not employ any of them in defining personhood. For instance, none of these qualities are employed:
  • sentience
  • self-awareness
  • autonomy
  • consciousness
  • heartbeat
  • brainwaves
  • personality
  • independence
  • self-sufficiency
Thus, when these amendments were adopted, none of these kinds of things were considered in defining personhood. Quite the contrary. In fact, three of these definitions specifically refer simply to "a human being." It is clear that these amendments actually refer to human individuals, and do not distinguish some humans as persons who will be protected while leaving others unprotected. The notion that personhood can be distinguished from humanity is simply a misrepresentation of the term "person" that some critics have invented in order to justify such violations as slavery and abortion.

 Of course, science clearly shows that the unborn are human individuals. They are human beings in the same sense that any born person is. Therefore, since "person" is defined to be any human being, this must include the unborn. So the definition of "person" used at the time of writing of these amendments applies to all human beings from fertilization to death. The opinion that "person" is not synonymous with "human individual" is simply not supported by either science or history.

Thus, it should be clear to any rational, thinking person that the United States Constitution clearly supports the right to life position and the truth that all human beings possess the right to life. One must remember that the Supreme Court is staffed by people who have their own political and religious views, and so is not infallible in its interpretation and application of the Constitution. Roe v. Wade should be reconsidered and overturned because it can be clearly shown that abortion is thoroughly unconstitutional.

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