Saddleback taught us an important lesson: presumptive Republican nominee John McCain says he knows when life begins. Democratic Presidential heir apparent Barack Obama does not.
But Obama’s agnosticism on the question of the beginning of life is actually nothing knew. In 1973, in the era before 4-D ultrasounds made their way into the lives of ordinary American couples, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to specify when life began in the historic case known as Roe v. Wade. In fact, when read with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, Roe allowed for abortion to take place during all nine-months of pregnancy. That’s why abortionists were able to get away with the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion.
Nevertheless, the High Court has allowed for certain restrictions on abortion: parental consent, 24-hour waiting periods, requirements that women be told of the risks of abortion and alternatives to it. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has co-sponsored, would wipe out such restrictions, leading to an even more permissive policy where abortion is concerned.
I would like to make the case that if unborn life were strictly defined in the law, our courts would be required to protect, rather than devalue, unborn children. That’s why I recommend passing state laws which would categorize the unlawful killing of unborn babies as murder. After that, legal protection could be extended to unborn boys and girls whose lives are snuffed out in abortion facilities.
There is something of a legal precedent for this. A few years back, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s Law. Under this landmark legislation, anyone who attacks a pregnant mother and “intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child…shall be punished…for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.”
While this was an important step forward, this 2004 law applies only to federal cases or those who commit such a crime in the course of violating a federal law. Since most crimes are matters of state law, similar legislation needs to be passed at the state level. Fortunately, a number of states have already done this—the unlawful killing of unborn babies is classified as homicide in 36 states.