The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the right to life for all human beings, including the unborn. We know that life starts at the moment of conception because there are immediate signs of growth as the egg divides and then continues to divide and grow bigger in preparation for birth. The newborn child continues to grow and develop until it reaches its full growth in the later teens or early adulthood. This is what life is all about, and life is protected by the Constitution of the United States.
Most Americans are familiar with the way that the Constitution starts. The first paragraph is known as Preamble, and it is a summary of what the Constitution is and does.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Richie Angel shares some interesting thoughts in his post titled “The Constitutional Rights of the Unborn.” He states that “The supreme law of the land is the Constitution, and our Founding Fathers provide incontrovertible insight as to their understanding of the unalienable right to life.” He points to the above quoted phrase from the Preamble as proof of their comprehension and then continues with more comments and quotes.
As Glenn Beck notes, “[w]ho are our posterity, if not our unborn children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren?” To deny the Constitution’s application to future generations is to erroneously deduce that the Founders intended their labor to last only a few years. Every constitutional provision that secures a human right was designed just as much for the protection of the rights of the unborn as for the rights of the born.
Angel offers much information about the thinking of the Founders. I particularly appreciate his explanation about James Wilson. This Founding Father was one of only “six men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” He was also one of the Justices on the first Supreme Court. He “lectured on constitutional law with Washington, Adams, and Jefferson in attendance – ostensibly endorsing his interpretations. As such, scholars typically concede that `Wilson, when speaking on the law, might be said to be speaking for the Founders generally.’”
According to Angel, Wilson gave a lecture titled “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals.” Wilson gives much information about when life begins in the womb according to quotes from Bouvier’s Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia (originally published in 1839). Most people claim that life begins when “quickening” takes place, but “There is significant debate about when quickening occurs, with many citing Bouvier’s estimation of `usually about the sixteenth week from conception.’” Quickening is the time when the mother first feels “the child” (as Bouvier calls the fetus) moving in her womb. However, common sense tells us that the child is a human child and is probably moving long before the mother feels it. Bouvier continues, “The child is, in truth, alive from the first moment of conception.”
Angel gives much information about the Founding Fathers and their concept of life beginning at conception. He concludes his post with these words.
The Founders undoubtedly crafted their revolutionary texts so as to secure the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the unborn.
So which constitutional rights do our future children enjoy? All of them. Read any quote from the Founding Fathers about your right to life, property, conscience, association, religious freedom, privacy, labor, and more, and smile knowing that your posterity has been endowed with the same rights by the same Creator. He is the one who gives life to the unborn, and we are not to take it away.