Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ground Zero

I have been neglecting this blog too long, and for that I apologize.

Austin, once again, has become Ground Zero in the abortion debate. That seems fitting since it was a Texas law that Roe v. Wade struck down. I took a vacation day yesterday and spent the entire day in the Texas Capitol. I managed to get an opportunity to testify before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee regarding Senate Bill 1, commonly called the "Fetal Pain Bill." I was very critical of the bill in my two-minute testimony, which was an extremely condensed version of the written testimony I submitted. To see video of my testimony, go to http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c610/c610.htm and click on the July 8, 2013 date. What you will get is a video file of the entire 16 hour hearing (you'll have to have RealPlayer to play the file). My testimony starts at 6:08:30. You can jump to it by moving the progress bar. Or you could watch it for six hours and eight minutes to get to it. But I wouldn't recommend that...

And below is the written testimony I submitted to the committee, most of which was taken from past posts on this blog:

I signed in today as being in favor of SB1 simply because I cannot stand with those who advocate legalized murder.  Because that’s what each and every abortion is:  a murder.  SB1 will outlaw some abortions that are now legal, and it will make it difficult for many abortion providers to operate, and that’s a good thing.  But I take issue with what SB1 will do.  In plain language, it ends with some form of “…and then you can kill the baby.”  Why not protect the right to life of every human being, not just those who have reached 20 weeks in utero?   Current Texas law, specifically Tex. Penal Code §1.07 (26), says that an individual "means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth." Tex. Penal Code §19.02 plainly states that a person commits the offense of murder if he "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual."  But Tex. Penal Code §19.06, specifically excludes unborn children from the protection of the statue defining and prohibiting murder, saying that the murder is permitted as long as the baby is killed by the child's mother or her abortionist.
Footnote 54 of the the Roe v. Wade majority opinion, which explains the Court’s reasoning for striking down the Texas law against abortion,  gives us a framework for creating laws which would protect all unborn children from abortion.  A section of Footnote 54 is below, in italics:

When Texas urges that a fetus is entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection as a person, it faces a dilemma. Neither in Texas nor in any other State are all abortions prohibited. Despite broad proscription, an exception always exists. The exception contained [410 U.S. 113, 158] in Art. 1196, for an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, is typical. But if the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law, and if the mother's condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment's command?
There are other inconsistencies between Fourteenth Amendment status and the typical abortion statute. It has already been pointed out, n. 49, supra, that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified by Art. 1195 is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by Art. 1257 of the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?

If, during argument, the State of Texas did assert that preborn children were protected under the Fourteenth Amendment, why did the Texas Penal Code treat the killing of unborn children differently than it treated the killing of other human beings? For review, here is the wording of the sections of the Texas Penal Code that were struck down by Roe v. Wade:

"Article 1191. Abortion
"If any person shall designedly administer to a pregnant woman or knowingly procure to be administered with her consent any drug or medicine, or shall use towards her any violence or means whatever externally or internally applied, and thereby procure an abortion, he shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years; if it be done without her consent, the punishment shall be doubled. By `abortion' is meant that the life of the fetus or embryo shall be destroyed in the woman's womb or that a premature birth thereof be caused.
"Art. 1192. Furnishing the means
"Whoever furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended is guilty as an accomplice.
"Art. 1193. Attempt at abortion
"If the means used shall fail to produce an abortion, the offender is nevertheless guilty of an attempt to produce abortion, provided [410 U.S. 113, 118] it be shown that such means were calculated to produce that result, and shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.
"Art. 1194. Murder in producing abortion
"If the death of the mother is occasioned by an abortion so produced or by an attempt to effect the same it is murder."
"Art. 1196. By medical advice
"Nothing in this chapter applies to an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother."

I fail to see anything in that language that indicated that Texas lawmakers had given even an inkling of thought to the idea that preborn children possessed the inalienable right to life or that they fell under the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.  And, as theRoe v. Wade opinion pointed out, why weren't the women seeking abortions guilty of any crime under that statute?  As much as I hate to admit it, the Court was right in striking down that law. Of course, what they should have done as a remedy was to determine that the word "person" in the Fourteenth Amendment meant "a human being" and to order the States to fully protect the right to life, and guarantee the equal protection of, all human beings, regardless of age or stage of development. Instead, the Court ruled, as it did in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), that certain human beings could be treated as property and could be either bought and sold or disposed of at will.

What the State of Texas must do is enact laws that actually do recognize that preborn children are persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court has already indicated that this would be consistent with the Constitution, both in Footnote 54 and in the statement in Part IX of the Roe v. Wade majority opinion that "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment."

Texas has already laid the framework for future laws which would fully protect preborn children from the murder that is going on throughout the state. Repeal Tex. Penal Code §19.06 and eliminate the abortion exception.  All other abortion regulations should also be repealed so that abortion becomes simply another form of murder, punishable like any other form of murder. I have drafted a blueprint of how such legislation might look, attached to this article.

By:                                               S.B. No. XXX

relating to the protection of the right to life of all persons and bringing the Texas Penal Code into compliance with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
SECTION 1.  Section 19.06, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 19.06. APPLICABILITY TO MEDICAL PROCEDURES. (a) A physician who performs any procedure or dispenses any drug, and the result of either is the intentional death of any individual, commits an offense.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
SECTION 2. Section 19.07, Penal Code, is added as follows:
Sec. 19.07. APPLICABILITY TO CERTAIN CONDUCT.  (a)  A mother of an unborn child who takes actions which result in the intentional death of the unborn child commits an offense.
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
SECTION 3.  Chapter 170, Health and Safety Code, is repealed.
SECTION 4.  Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, is repealed.
SECTION 5.  The purpose of the Act is to guarantee and protect the inalienable right to life of all individuals in the State of Texas, in accordance with Amendment Fourteen of the Constitution of the United States, which states that no State shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Texas Penal Code currently defines a “person” as an “individual” and an “individual” as “a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”  According to that Fourteenth Amendment, all individuals must receive equal protection under the law, especially in regards to the protection of life.
SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the legislative session.

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