Midwest Voices

The unborn and constitutional rights

Updated: 2013-12-08T00:00:25Z


Special to The Star

Celebrations are likely to occur for the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, yet we shouldn’t overlook other rights that are being abridged that were also guaranteed by our forefathers.

When we read in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” we know that our forefathers intended that from the beginning we would all be equal.

President Abraham Lincoln further defined in the 13th Amendment that under the law, regardless of race, we are all entitled to the same opportunities. Our right to life and liberty is also guaranteed by the state.

The 14th Amendment says … “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The use of the term “created equal” is significant. Created — defined as to bring into being, to produce — implies from the beginning, from the moment that elements came together to produce something — from that first moment of our being we are equal. Before we come into this world we have innate equality. Not only are we equal but we have “…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

From the moment of our creation we are equal and have the right to life. It seems to me if shortly after our creation, some of us are killed and denied our right to life, we are not equal because some of us have the right to life and some of us do not.

We have not received all of the unalienable rights guaranteed to us in the Declaration of Independence when the state allows that we be deprived of our life before we are born. And in fact the state is required to do so by the Supreme Court in the Roe vs. Wade decision (1973), which disallowed states the right to ban abortions.

The argument over when a person becomes a viable being has persisted for years and yet the Declaration of Independence has already clearly stated that it is when we are created not when we are born, but when we are created. From that moment on we have “unalienable Rights.”

We have the technology now to show the baby in the womb. At 18 days a baby has a beating heart and at 21 days it is pumping blood through a circulatory system separate from its mother’s.

At this point we could certainly say, it has been created. If, after we are created, we are deliberately killed by another we have lost our right to equality and our right to life.

Roe vs. Wade is reminiscent of the 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision, which said that blacks were not citizens and had no rights. The court, then and now, has been swayed by the culture and politics of an era and has moved away from the rights guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Lincoln and the Civil War returned those rights to black citizens who had been unjustly stripped of them. We need a leader like Lincoln to lead the fight to return to our created but unborn citizens the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

Carol Dark Ayres is a retired educator from Leavenworth. To reach her, send email to oped@kcstar.com or write to Midwest Voices, c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.

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