FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2011
Contact: Ciara Matthews, (202) 223-8073
Professor Robert P. George Makes Clear Federal Government’s 14th Amendment Responsibility to Protect Life
Washington, D.C. – The Susan B. Anthony List today issued a response to recent comments made by Texas Governor Rick Perry regarding abortion.
Perry is reported to have told reporters in Houston this week, “You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t,” explaining his belief that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, the legality of abortion would have to be decided at the state level.
Conversely, in a speech during a United for Life event in Los Angeles, Perry told the crowd, “Somehow, the folks in Washington have forgotten, or chosen to ignore, the overriding responsibility of every government: to protect citizens at every stage in life, especially those who cannot protect themselves.” Perry has also referred to the Supreme Court decision on Roe. v. Wade as a case of “judicial activism.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser responded to these statements today saying, “Governor Perry has been a long time friend of the pro-life movement and we welcome and appreciate all the work he has done for women and unborn children as Governor.” Dannenfelser continued, “We agree that certainly there is a lot that can be done at the state level to reduce the number of abortion, but that does not diminish or eliminate the federal government’s responsibility to protect human life in all of its stages.”
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University explained the Constitutional argument refuting Perry’s statement saying,
“It is important for Governor Perry and for all Americans to recognize the responsibility of the national government under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment to ensure that the guarantees of Section 1 of that Amendment are honored by all 50 states. Those guarantees include the following: ‘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.’ As a matter of indisputable scientific fact, the child in the womb is a living human being. As a matter of moral truth, deeply embedded in our legal and constitutional traditions, all human beings are persons. Thus, by the clearest logical implication, the national government is empowered and obligated by our Constitution to ensure that unborn human persons are protected in their most fundamental right—the right to life. Because this is an expressly delegated power, there is no 10th Amendment basis for denying or relieving the national government of its responsibilities, along with the states, to protect the child in the womb.”
Dannenfelser concluded stating that if Perry decides to join the Republican field as a candidate for President the Susan B. Anthony List is looking forward to him signing its Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.
“His signature on our pledge will be a welcome addition. We are also anticipating his clarification that if elected he will continue his fight for life at the national level.”