Except in the case of a medical emergency, no abortion of a viable unborn child shall be performed or induced unless the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness,...
During today’s debate on whether to ban late term abortions of unborn children who are determined to be viable outside the womb, a very important question came up from the opposition side of the debate. A representative from Saint Louis city stated that the government has no right to tell her that she cannot abort her unborn baby, because the government would be intruding on her rights. The representative went on to say that we are doing enough damage to the rights of the people who have been born and was wondering when we were going to start looking after their rights instead of cutting all the government programs that people are using. I think that the representative's debate calls us to once again consider the proper role of government. I think I can define the proper role of government concerning this issue and I would like to start out with what the law has to say. This is what we can find in Article I Section II of the Missouri Constitution:
Promotion of general welfare--natural rights of persons--equality under the law--purpose of government.
Section 2. That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design.
It is obvious to me that the law simply states that the purpose of government is to promote the general welfare of the people by equally protecting the natural rights of citizens so they have the liberty to pursuit happiness.
To answer the representative's question, we protect people after they are born by simply protecting freedom. Liberty is the only medium that enables a person to succeed or fail according to their personal choices they make as they pursuit happiness. Sometimes the government has to cut a lot of red tape or programs in order to cede more liberty and responsibility to the individual and sometimes the government has to make laws that would protect the individual from the intrusiveness either of the government or of other people. Every action the government takes is supposed to be done in an effort to secure the liberty of the people and attaining that security is the principle object of government as stated in our state's constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
With respect to this bill, the purpose of government can be identified simply by pulling the issue through the principles of liberty. Let me start out with this: it is the purpose of government to protect the individuals’ natural right to life. If a child can survive outside the womb then that means it is quite capable of making choices and pursuing happiness, but its liberty to do so must be protected. Therefore, at the moment of viability, at the latest, we know that this unborn child has liberty and it is the duty of government to protect that liberty. The mother of a viable unborn child does not have the right to deprive her child of its natural right to life and it is fully with in the jurisdiction of government to protect the child from the ill intent of the mother.
Here is the other question: Is the proper role of government to protect some of the peoples rights or all of the peoples rights?
If we pick whose rights we are going to protect, then there is no equality under the law. If we are having a problem providing equality under the law by not protecting the liberty of a viable unborn child then this becomes a civil rights issue. Anyone who promotes equality and anyone who advocates for civil rights, I think, should also be an advocate for a limited government functioning only to protect the natural rights of everyone, including viable unborn children.
Thomas Jefferson once said that “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”
This is an emotional issue for many but good government and statesmanship cannot find stability on the tides of emotion. Sound government and statesmanship is grounded in the bedrock of duty.