A spokesman for senatorial candidate Cory Gardner told The Denver Post today that the federal personhood bill, co-sponsored by Gardner in July of last year, “simply states that life begins at conception” and woud not change contraception laws.
“The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Senator Udall falsely alleges,” [Gardner spokesperson Alex] Siciliano said.
In fact, the federal “Life at Conception Act” aims to make personhood federal law, applicable to all states, including Colorado and banning all abortion. Here’s how:
The full title of the Life at Conception Act is: “To implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person.”
You may be surprised that the 14th Amendment, Section 5, allows Congress to pass legislation to re-define the definition of a “person” under federal law. This skirts the normal, lengthy process for amending the U.S. Constitution.
The 14th Amendment, Section 5, states:
“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
Anti-abortion activists have seized on this provision of the 14th Amendment to push federal legislation that would define a “person” as beginning at the fertilized egg or zygote stage. They argue that by passing such legislation, they are enforcing the due-process and equal-protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment. Hence, the Life at Conception Act states in part:
To implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person, and pursuant to the duty and authority of the Congress, including Congress’ power under article I, section 8, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress’ power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being. …
The term “human being” is defined in the bill as “all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization…”
The terms “human person” and “human being” include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.
So, to summarize: The Life at Conception Act aims to redefine the definition of a person in the Fourteenth Amendment, and apply the 14th Amendment’s protections to zygotes, hence banning all abortion, even for rape, as well as common forms of birth control that endanger, or even potentially endanger, fertilized eggs. It would give legal protections to fertilized eggs. In a word, personhood.
Reporters should not let Gardner, or his spokespeople, mislead the public about the aim of the federal personhood bill that he co-sponsored last year.