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The Human Life Amendment is the name for any amendment to the United States Constitution that would have the effect of overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Courtmarker decision that denied states the authority to prohibit abortion. Although all of these amendments are intended to overturn Roe v. Wade, most of them go further, by forbidding both the federal government and the states from making abortion legal.

History of the Human Life Amendment

Several different Human Life Amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1973, with twenty total days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1974, 1975, and 1981, several other hearings before other committees, and a number of floor debates. Between 1973 and 2003, the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment reports a total of 330 proprosals using varying texts, with most dying in committee. The only version of the Human Life Amendment to reach a formal floor vote was the Hatch-Eagleton Amendment, which received 49 supporting votes in the Senate on June 28, 1983, falling 18 votes short of the 67 required for passage.

Major versions of the Human Life Amendment

The Hogan Amendment

Introduced by Rep. Lawrence Hogan on January 30, 1973, under .

Section 1. Neither the United States nor any State shall deprive any human being, from the moment of conception, of life without due process of law; nor deny to any human being, from the moment of conception, within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall deprive any human being of life on account of illness, age, or incapacity.

Section 3. Congress and the several States shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Whitehurst Amendment

Introduced by Rep. G. William Whitehurst on March 13, 1973, under .

Section 1. Nothing in this Constitution shall bar any State or territory or the District of Columbia, with regard to any area over which it has jurisdication, from allowing, regulating, or prohibiting the practice of abortion.

The Burke Amendment

Introduced by James Burke on September 12, 1973, under .

Section 1. With respect to the right to life, the word 'person,' as used in this article and in the fifth and fourteenth articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, applies to all human beings, including their unborn offspring at every stage of their biological development, irrespective of age, health, function, or condition of dependency.

Section 2. No abortion shall be performed by any person except under and in conformance with law permitting an abortion to be performed only in an emergency when a reasonable medical certainty exists that the continuation of pregnancy will cause the death of the mother and requiring that person to make every reasonable effort, in keeping with good medical practice, to perserve the life of her unborn offspring.

Section 3. The Congress and the several States shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation within their respective jurisdictions.

Scott Amendment

Introduced by Sen. William Scott on June 6, 1975, under .

The power to regulate the circumstances under which pregnancy may be terminated is reserved to the states.

The Paramount Amendment

Introduced by Rep. Romano Mazzoli on April 5, 1979, under .

The paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the moment of fertilization without regard to age, health, or condition of dependency.

Hatch Amendment

Introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch on September 21, 1981, under .

A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution. The Congress and the several States shall have the concurrent power to restrict and prohibit abortions: Provided, That a law of a State which is more restrictive than a law of Congress shall govern.

The Hatch-Eagleton Amendment

Introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Thomas Eagleton on January 26, 1983, under .

A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution.

See also



References




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