Human Life Amendment

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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 Court decision that denied states the authority to regulate abortion. Several different Human Life Amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1973, including one introduced by congressman Lawrence Joseph Hogan, Sr. eight days following the Supreme Court ruling.[1]

No Human Life Amendment, however, has ever been approved by Congress. Only the Orrin Hatch/Thomas Eagleton Amendment ever received a roll call vote, though it failed on the Senate floor by a 49–50 vote,[2] falling far short of the required two-thirds majority for approving constitutional amendments. A number of liberal Republicans including Alan Simpson, John Tower, and Nancy Kassebaum voted "nay", while some Northern Democrats broke ranks in support.

There have been several different Human Life Amendments, but the text of the most common version reads as follows:

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 applies to all human beings irrespective of age, health, function, or condition of dependency, including their unborn offspring at every state of their biological development.
Section 2. No unborn person shall be deprived of life by any person: Provided, however, That nothing in this article shall prohibit a law permitting only those medical procedures required to prevent the death of the mother of an unborn person: Provided further, That nothing in this article shall limit the liberty of a mother with respect to the unborn offspring of the mother conceived as a result of rape or incest.
Section 3. The Congress and the several States shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.