Is the Fetus a Citizen and Therefore
Protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?
In this day and age people are constantly crying out for moral and social reforms. Legislators bandy these questions, coming to no conclusions. One such question is the legality of abortion and the fetus's right to life. The fourteenth amendment states that "...neither the U.S. nor any state shall deny a citizen life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness..." Does this not include the fetus? Is it not a part of the "we" in the statement "we the people?"
In 1989 a survey was taken by the Los Angeles Times. It concluded that over 60 percent of the people surveyed felt that abortion was not only immoral but also akin to murder. Yet abortions continue to go on, being treated as a form of birth control rather than a life saving method for mother's at risk.
One needs to know very little about the abortion issue to have heard, more than once, of the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. It was during this case in 1973 that the Supreme Court ruled that women had the right to terminate the pregnancy before the end of the first trimester. However, what one does not hear is that several of the Supreme Court justices today are ready and quite willing to overturn this verdict. There have been several lesser known cases which have shown the Supreme Court's pro-life stance. On June 30, 1980 (Harris v. McRay), the Court ruled that it was not and would not be the government's place to provide federal money to pay for abortions. In Webster v. Reproductive Health the Court ruled to uphold the constitutionality of the Missouri law banning abortion in public facilities. And in yet still another case, the Court prohibited federally funded family planning counselors from discussing abortion with their patients (Rust v. Sullivan).
The main question each of us must ask ourselves is whether or not we believe the fetus to be a living being and also a citizen. This question has divided millions around the world for centuries. The ancient Greek philosophers known as the "Pythagoreans" declared that the fetus was morally equal to the future child it would become. Therefore, abortion was wrong. In the 19th century the Catholic Church also adopted a policy in which abortion was declared murder. Even in the early 1900's every state in the Union had declared abortion illegal unless it was in order to save the woman's life. And more recently, the majority of American women surveyed have said that they believe the fetus to be a human being from the moment of conception.
Perhaps the real question we should be asking is: Do we place such a small value on human life? Are we too consumed with things that are trivial to realize that we are destroying the future of our nation. Instead of destroying life which is truly precious, other options are available. Adoption and actually raising the child are just a few. The moral decay of the '60's led to a general acceptance of the murder of unborn children. Let us stop this decay from going any further. In our opinion the 14th Amendment does protect the fetus and stresses its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.