When it comes to the legislative proposal of the Life at Conception Act, your question as to where we stand on it actually leads to several questions in one.
One question is whether we agree with the goal of the legislation. The answer is yes, and we always have… This bill, as you may know, is not new. In fact, for decades, pro-life members of Congress have introduced, in each new Congress, a “Life at Conception” Act in one form or another. Using the 14th Amendment is a powerful argument and is worthy to pursue. Fr. Frank, and Priests for Life, have been supporting, encouraging, discussing and strategizing from the very beginning of our work in 1993 with the various members of Congress who have introduced these bills, up to and including today.
As for the group, National Pro-life Alliance, which sends out a lot of mailings regarding this proposed legislation, they are not represented at the meetings of national leaders, and sending this petition is the only thing we are aware of that they do.
But the second question that arises is whether the bill has the support in Congress to pass at the present time. Those members of Congress who are sponsoring it know, as we do, that the legislative support is not there right now. Obviously, that doesn’t mean we don’t introduce it anyway… But what it does mean is that strategically, groups will be spending more time and effort passing the bills we know can pass right now – not as a final goal, but as stepping stones to get to goals like the Life at Conception Act signify.
Some of those intermediate bills have to do with protecting babies in the late stages of pregnancy. The legislators and groups pushing those bills don’t think that earlier abortions are OK; rather, they are committed to save the lives today that will be saved by passing the bills that already do have enough Congressmen ready to vote for them.
So that’s our position. We keep the goal clearly in mind, as well as the political/legislative reality of the moment.