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(LifeSiteNews) — If you’ve been following the recent national conversation about abortion, you will notice that a lot of it centers not on whether women can kill their babies, but when. Lost somewhere in these discussions is the baby. Our faith, and natural law itself, compels us to combat this enormous distortion of truth by returning to the very heart of the matter: the preborn are human persons.

You’ll hear that the defeat of Roe has returned the decision of abortion to the states, to “the will of the people.” Abortion, however, is intrinsically different from other issues in that it victimizes – to their death – a voiceless, disenfranchised class of people: the unborn. With abortion, the “will of the people” allows some people to will the mass murder of other people.

A constitutionally-excluded class: slavery then, abortion now

John Daniel Davidson, senior editor at The Federalistreminds us where we’ve seen all this before: “Today’s Democrats view abortion just as antebellum Democrats viewed slavery. They think the constitutional rights of an entire class of people (women) depend for their vindication on the denial of all rights to another class of people (the unborn).”

As Father Stephen Imbarrato bluntly states, the preborn are the last remaining constitutionally excluded class in the United States of America, and they are a class we are mass-murdering. Fr. Imbarrato demolishes the claim that popular sovereignty rules over moral principle. “We need to understand that our inalienable right to life endowed by our Creator can never be predicated upon the will of the people nor determined by any state,” he said.

Our right to life comes from God, from conception

With human DNA, preborn human life is undeniably human, and a human being is a human person. Our rights as persons come from God, not from any earthly authority. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence states that these rights are “endowed by their Creator.” And the Catholic Church is crystal clear on this, teaching: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life (Evangelium Vitae, 1). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” CCC 2270 (emphasis mine).

Preborn children are already protected under existing Florida law

Writing in New Oxford Review (May 2023), Monica Migliorino Miller highlights how abortion is predicated on the preborn being denied their personhood:

The issue of whether unborn children are persons strikes at the heart of legalized abortion. Even the written opinion of Roe v. Wade recognized that the so-called right to abortion ‘collapses’ if the unborn are indeed persons. If they are persons then they are subject to the protections of the 14th Amendment, which states that no state shall ‘deprive any person of life… nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’

How, then, do we get the preborn recognized as human persons so that they would be subject to the protections of the 14th Amendment? We need the Supreme Court of the United States to decide on a case where this is the foundational argument, where the preborn are recognized as human persons. Please God, that such a case is accepted by the Supreme Court (soon, while we still have somewhat of a conservative majority), and that the justices rule with integrity and courage on what is patently clear.

Meanwhile, like the 14th Amendment in the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2 of the Florida State Constitution recognizes the right to life and equal protection of all natural persons:

All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness, to be rewarded for industry, and to acquire, possess and protect property. No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability.

And, in fact, in a broad and numerous array of instances, existing Florida law recognizes and protects preborn lives. Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court immediately following the February oral arguments on the state’s abortion amendment. In this brief, Staver provide a litany of instances in existing Florida law where an “unborn child” or “unborn person” is currently afforded legal protection: numerous Florida criminal statutes, trust and estate law, guardianship law, habeas corpus and incarceration law, and tort law all recognize the preborn as a person deserving equal protection.

READ: Florida Supreme Court allows vote on extreme pro-abortion amendment in November

Yet four of seven Florida justices punted on personhood

On April 1, in its 4-3 decision to allow the abortion amendment on the November ballot, the Florida Supreme Court’s majority denied personhood for the preborn. We had high hopes that the court would rule for personhood, given the rigorous questioning by the chief justice during the February oral arguments.

What is most agonizing is that in the court’s decision, writing for the majority, Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz essentially acknowledged the personhood conundrum in the decision to allow the abortion amendment on the ballot, that the amendment would allow, as he wrote, “an entire class of human beings” to be harmed:

… questions of justice are appropriately at the heart of the voters’ assessment of a proposed amendment like the one under review. With its reference to the existence of “inalienable rights” in all persons, our constitution’s Declaration of Rights assumes a pre-constitutional, objective moral reality that demands our respect – indeed, a moral order that government exists to protect. The proposed amendment would constitutionalize restrictions on the people’s authority to use law to protect an entire class of human beings from private harm. It would cast into doubt the people’s authority even to enact protections that are prudent, compassionate, and mindful of the complexities involved.

Unfortunately, Muñiz went on in an infuriatingly Pilatesque fashion to wash his hands of it all and say that our system of government obliges us to leave this issue to the voters: “Under our system of government, it is up to the voters—not this Court—to decide whether such a rule is consistent with the deepest commitments of our political community,” he wrote.  This November, Florida voters will vote on Amendment 4 as it is now called, most deceptively entitled, “Limiting Government Interference with Abortion.”

READ: DeSantis predicts ‘very, very extreme’ pro-abortion ballot initiative will ‘fail’ in Florida

Florida’s Amendment 4 is unconstitutional, and 3 of 4 justices agree

The argument that Amendment 4 is unconstitutional is based on Article 1, Section 2 of the Florida constitution and, of course, the 14th amendment in the US Constitution. Three of seven Florida justices understood this and in their dissenting opinion wrote with lucidity:

The exercise of a ‘right’ to an abortion literally results in a devastating infringement on the right of another person: the right to live. And our Florida Constitution recognizes that ‘life’ is a ‘basic right’ for ‘[a]ll natural persons.’ Art. I, § 2, Fla. Const. One must recognize the unborn’s competing right to life and the State’s moral duty to protect that life.

Later, they continue, “The exercise of a “right” to an abortion literally results in a devastating infringement on the right of another person: the right to live” (emphasis mine).

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has recently hinted at a possible legal challenge. Should Amendment 4 pass, he said, “there is a prime lawsuit waiting to take it up to the Florida Supreme Court.”

Call to action: Personhood for the preborn

We cannot remain silent. As Christians, it is our duty to speak out on abortion, the greatest human rights crisis in history, and to do so by cutting to the heart of the abortion debate: personhood for the preborn. We urge you to educate yourselves on the issue of personhood for the preborn. Then start speaking to others about the preborn and their right to equal protection under the law. Let’s raise an outcry to create the national debate.

We (and importantly, our faith leaders – bishops, pastors, priests) must stand on the moral absolute and proclaim with clarity and charity, and with no equivocation:

  • The preborn are HUMAN PERSONS.
  • To vote yes on Florida’s Amendment 4 is a GRAVE MORAL EVIL.
  • To vote for pro-abortion politicians is a GRAVE MORAL EVIL.

Let us continue to work and to pray for the preborn.