All state and federal unborn victims of crime bills in America as of April 2012 are unprincipled. Sadly they reinforce the so-called "legitimate" intentional killing of unborn children. This is unnecessary. It will take courageous leadership to change the status quo.
Colorado Right To Life and their state's pro-life legislators introduced a principled fetal crimes bill in 2012. The single-sentence bill (see the text just below) passed the House of Representatives. The Democrat-controlled Senate however voted it down. (In 2011 a compromised anti-personhood, abortion-affirming bill was introduced by Republicans but then killed by widespread pro-life opposition led by CRTL.)
Principled UVCA: Working with a county prosecutor, Colorado Right To Life developed this wording (that passed the House), and now American RTL recommends to all states legislation based upon this model:
"If the commission of any crime codified in Title 18 [criminal code] or Title 42 [driving drunk, reckless, etc.] of the Colorado Revised Statutes is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species Homo sapiens, the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury may be brought contemporaneously with the underlying charges."
No Need To Further Define "Unborn Member": Pro-abortion critics will mock those advocating for protection for unborn children claiming that our laws would define skin cells, sperm, or even kidney stones as persons, but of course this is simply obfuscation. The above language sufficiently identifies the unborn child because only a child is eventually "born." Other organs or cells may be removed from the body but they are not "born." Only a child is "born." Thus an "unborn member" of the human family refers to the little person (biologically speaking, the organism) in mom's womb who eventually could be "born" unless miscarried (natural death) or killed (homicide).
Abortion Neutral: This proposed legislation, a principled Unborn Victims of Crime Act (UVCA), is abortion neutral. How can that be? How could any law be abortion neutral? And would abortion neutrality in this context even be justifiable? By excluding millions of living human beings from the protection of the oldest legal precedent, Thou Shall Not Murder, which is the true prevailing legal authority, twenty-first century America has a morally bankrupt legal system. Therefore most legislatures, prosecutors, and courts do not recognize abortion as a crime. Thus in many jurisdictions, as applied, the above constitutes model wording for an abortion-neutral fetal crimes bill.
Neutrality and Morality: The county prosecutor who developed the above legislation modeled it after the Exodus 21 passage in the Bible regarding the punishment of a criminal who injures an unborn child during the commission of a crime committed against some other person. Fundamental morality does not require that every law address every contingency, and accordingly, even though the Hippocratic Oath demonstrates that the ancient world practiced abortion, that Exodus passage does not address the intentional killing of the unborn child.
Principled Incrementalism: When personhood is finally enforced in law, of all the abortion laws then in effect, only the principled bills will not be abolished by personhood. All compromised incrementalism bills will be repealed when personhood is in effect. As we wrote to Dr. James Dobson in our full-page open letter that appeared in newspapers around the country, "Incrementalism is fine; compromised incrementalism violates God's enduring command, Do not murder." Examples of principled incrementalism include:
- Fetal crimes bills (as above, not permitting abortion)
- Divesting pension funds from companies that perform or support abortion
- Parental involvement in medical care (not mentioning abortion)
- Prevent public & private health insurance from covering abortion
- Preventing tax dollars from being used for abortion (without re-affirming abortion as is usually done)
Compromised Incrementalism: On the other hand, compromised legislation can be recognized by their child-killing regulations, exceptions, and in that they usually end with the seven words, "and then you can kill the baby." However, pro-lifers should generally pursue principled incrementalism only as side issues and on off-years when they are unable to campaign for personhood amendments and legislation, because spending another 30 years on incrementalism, principled or otherwise, will never stop America's genocide against unborn children. (See ARTL's report on Good and Bad Incrementalism.)
The Esther Principle -- Countering Immoral Law: Some well-meaning pro-lifers have argued against any constitutional or legislative effort to negate Roe or to get the government to recognize personhood. They claim that efforts to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse itself on Roe v. Wade (though highly unlikely), or personhood personhood efforts themselves, inherently imply that the government actually has the authority to decriminalize murder, which surely it does not. However those who have the same high view of Scripture as held by Jesus Christ recognize that God inspired holy men to write the books of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21) and that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine and correction (2 Tim. 3:16). Thus the entire book of Esther provides insight into acceptable legislative response to wicked laws. For when the government had issued a decree permitting the killing of Jews, Esther and Mordecai lobbied for and successfully obtained a countermanding law that saved the innocent from being slaughtered. Thankfully those who loved God did not limit themselves to arguing that the initial law was "no law at all," because the king has no actual authority to nullify God's enduring command, Do not murder. This of course is absolutely true. But wrongly viewing this moral argument as the only legitimate response to illegitimate law would have been catastrophic. For that approach would have done nothing to stop the coming genocide. Why not? Because God instituted government was to restrain the wicked acts of individuals. So when the government openly advocates such wicked acts, assuredly, those crimes will be committed, en masse.
God's Blessing: So God blessed the efforts of Esther and Mordecai to reverse the immoral (and truly not authoritative) previous governmental proclamation that had wrongly permitted the killing of the innocent. Thus pro-lifers should not limit themselves to getting the public and governing officials to ignore wicked laws and court opinions, but in good conscience, they can also attempt to countermand murderous laws.
Please see also our Strategy page and check out our Focus on the Strategy II video online or via DVD. And remember, we are the makers of the world's largest protest sign against Barack Obama and the Democrats for destroying unborn children.
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American Right To Life
1535 Grant Street #303
Denver, CO 80203
office [at] AmericanRTL.org
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