Should the right to life be extended to unborn fetuses?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

H.R. 431, also known as the Life at Conception Act, would declare that the Constitution’s protection of the right to life extends to fetuses from the moment of fertilization, a concept known as fetal personhood. If passed, it would effectively criminalize all forms of abortion and in vitro fertilization, as well as significantly complicate the legality of contraception and risk the prosecution of mothers for miscarriages. Sponsor: Rep. Alexander X. Mooney (Republican, West Virginia, District 2)
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Opponents say

•    "[...] The State Supreme Court has put access to fertility treatments at risk for families who are desperately trying to get pregnant. It’s unimaginable for people who want to become parents, and it’s a devastating example of the kind of chaos and confusion that has resulted from the overturning of Roe v. Wade. There are reports that families seeking fertility care don’t know what to do or where to turn.  Doctors are afraid [...] of prosecution.  And families in other states are worried they might be next. [...] Birth control access is under attack.  Women are being denied care for ectopic pregnancy.  And now, with this decision out of Alabama [...]  IVF is under attack. So, we want to be really clear here: It is absolutely unacceptable to this administration when women are denied the care that they need.  It is unacceptable. President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to fight to protect access to reproductive healthcare and call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law for all women in every state." Source: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (Democrat)

•      "Republicans are working on a mass rebranding following a devastating ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court that effectively stalled in vitro fertilization across the state. The instant backlash to the decision has led to droves of GOP lawmakers to issue statements in which they claim to be champions of the procedure … But that doesn’t quite square away with their recent voting records. In 2021, those legislators and 163 other House Republicans co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which hoped to recognize fertilized eggs as children at the federal level in an attempt to ban abortions nationwide." Source: The Democratic Party 

•      "Let's make it clear: Republicans will say whatever they need to say to try to cover themselves on this, but they've been clear and Donald Trump has been the guy leading this effort to eliminate women's reproductive rights and reproductive choice…The decision is very clear that a fertilized egg is a child, is a human being, which means that for example in my case, when we have five fertilized eggs and three were non-viable. When my doctor discarded those with my consent -- that would be considered potentially manslaughter or murder…Republicans have put the rights of a fertilized egg over the rights of the woman. And that is not something that I think the American people agree with." Source: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Democrat, Illinois)

Proponents say

•     "As thousands of Americans prepare to participate in the annual March for Life, it is time for Congress to recognize the right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence, and it is the constitutional duty of all members of Congress to ensure this belief is upheld. The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore, is entitled to legal protection from that point forward. Only when America chooses, remembers, and restores her respect for life will we rediscover our moral bearings and truly find our way." Source: Sen. Rand Paul (Republican, Kentucky)

•      "As we near the anniversary of the terrible Roe v. Wade opinion, we should all remember there is much work left to do to [sic.] in the fight for life. Protecting life is one of my top priorities in Congress. I am honored to again be the lead sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which defines human life as beginning at the moment of conception. Respecting human life from the moment of conception until natural death is not simply a religious belief, it is a scientific fact that life begins at conception. I urge my colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to define human life at conception. The preborn are the most helpless among us, and they need us to protect them. The Life at Conception Act would require protection for the preborn under the 14th Amendment, which grants all citizens equal protection under the law and prevents them from being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. As a result, preborn babies would be entitled to legal protection under the Constitution as enforced by the states. This legislation would also set a standard for promoting and encouraging a culture of life." Source: Rep. Alex X. Mooney (Republican, West Virginia, District 2)

•      "Idahoans have passed a strong law to protect the lives of mothers and the unborn, yet the Biden administration is seeking every opportunity to expand abortion. This administration cherrypicked [sic.] pieces of existing statute and wrongfully reinterpreted it to fit their agenda. Their manipulation of federal law cannot usurp state law, and there is no federal right to an abortion. This amicus brief demonstrates how the administration’s substantial federal overreach is aimed at undermining pro-life protections not only in Idaho but around the nation." Source: Sen. James Risch (Republican, Idaho)