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Beware these bills! February 2, 2009

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Annoucements, Commentary.

Bills by the hundred are introduced daily in Congress. Many of them concern trivial and local matters like recognition of local heroes and support for specific individuals, but some malicious bills are slipped in, hoping that no-one will notice.

Recent examples are the House and Senate bills S.270 and H.R. 605, mentioned in the following post “When Two Bills Look Alike.”  S.270 and H.R. 605 are two versions of a bill purporting to help pregnant women. Don’t be deceived–these bills are sponsored by Democrats for Life and supported  by the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  They don’t provide funds for contraception and real sex education, but refer throughout to “unborn children,” an common anti-abortion tactic to promote an emotional response to pregnancy.  The bills are intended to coerce women into bearing children, whether they want to or not.

Last week another no-good, very bad bill was introduced in the Senate–S.346, sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. This bill would extend the protection of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to what are called “preborn persons.”  They mean fetuses, but deliberately don’t use the correct scientific term.  If  by any chance this bill were to become law, it would change the constitution so that a fetus would be a person and abortion would become murder.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of these bills. At the moment they are all three in committee, a common graveyard for unpopular bills. Let’s hope they stay there.

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1. Janet Robert, Board Chair of Democrats for Life of America - February 3, 2009

I am confused why a rationalist website assumes that opposition to abortion is a theist’s issue? Everyone admits there is life from conception, the issue is at what stage of life does the government step in to protect that human life? Some people say at three months, others say six months, and the partial birth abortion advocates say at birth. Abortion is a values issue that atheists and theists must address from a values perspective. Theists values are often the same values as atheists, and the most fundamental value protected under the U.S. Constitution is life. Sure it is less “emotional” to call an unborn child a “fetus”, and pro-choice people prefer to use “fetus” because then you don’t have to face the sad fact that we are killing unborn children. I know atheists who are opposed to abortion. There is no tricky in these two bills. The original bill was inspired by Democrats for Life of America’s 95-10 initiative which was designed to deal with pregnant women. H.R. 605 added family planning which was unnecessary since family planning is already provided under other laws.

2. Nepsis - February 9, 2009

The author of the post appears not to have read the bill if he/she thinks there is anything even remotely coercive in it. Read the text for yourself at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s270/text

This is a good and helpful bill about support for pregnant women and children’s health care and the provision of information prior to making such an important decision. Ideologues on both sides of this issue appear bent on suppressing the availability of information that they don’t themselves control.

It also seems to me that the writer displayed a profound poverty of humanity in implying that “an emotional response to pregnancy” was something to be dismissed or disregarded.

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