"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."
-Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence, America's birth certificate, could not be more clear. The purpose of our government is to secure our rights, and chief among them is the right to life.
The right to life is the primary right; from it all other rights are derived. Absent this right, we have no secure claim to other rights, including such cherished rights as private property ownership, free speech, freedom of religion, due process in legal proceedings, and the right to vote. Even our right to defend ourselves, as expressed in the Second Amendment, is predicated upon the fact that we have an unalienable right to life, and therefore a right to defend our life. This is why a profound appreciation of the right to life is the foundation for promoting all other individual rights. To the extent that this right is respected, protected, and promoted, both culturally and legally, all of the derivative rights we desire can in turn be respected, protected, and promoted.
As a physician and student of the life sciences, I understand that an individual's life begins at conception. It is therefore appropriate to protect innocent human life from conception to natural death. The only justification for ending a pregnancy is to protect the life of the mother, which fortunately is indicated relatively rarely in the context of modern medical care.
In addition to protecting the unborn, we must also protect other vulnerable persons, including infants, those with birth defects, orphans, the mentally ill, the elderly, the terminally ill, and those with disabilities of all types. Tragically, the world has many examples of members of these vulnerable groups having been the victims of neglect or targeted killing. Practices such as death by deprivation, infanticide, eugenics, and euthanasia must be resisted, and an important part of this resistance must be appropriate constitutional and legal protection for the vulnerable. Although America has a culture and a history that values life, America still needs appropriate safeguards.
Starting now, tax payers no longer must be required to pay for elective abortions. Parents must have the right to be informed if their minor daughter is contemplating an elective abortion and parental consent must be required. Organizations and individuals that perform abortions must be carefully regulated to ensure safety to patients and to ensure that women contemplating abortion are given full disclosure about the unborn child and the nature of the procedure and its risks. Babies born alive in abortive procedures must be given full care, never killed or left to die. Senatorial consent for nominees to the United States Supreme Court and Federal Courts only should be given for nominees who clearly demonstrate the understanding that the right to life must be afforded the highest priority in all cases of law and equity.
The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This necessarily implies that our religious beliefs, including our right of conscience, must be honored by Congress and the laws it passes, as well as by our courts. For this reason, the right of conscience of individuals and private entities must be protected formally by law so they are not forced to participate in procedures or pay for services or products that violate their conscience. This protection would extend to health care students, workers, providers, and facilities; employers; insurance companies; churches; nonprofit organizations; and all other individuals and private entities. Specifically, they would be afforded protection, to the fullest possible extent, from the government forcing them, directly or indirectly, to fully fund, subsidize, participate in, or provide abortions, birth control, physician assisted suicide, or any other product or service that they find objectionable.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act directly violates the First Amendment in this regard. It forces providers of insurance plans to cover things some plan sponsors find objectionable, such as birth control, and this is one of many reasons I am committed to repealing the act. Although I do not have a moral or religious opposition to methods of birth control that are non-abortive in nature, I think that forcing our fellow Americans who have this objection to violate their religious belief and/or their conscience over this point is nothing less than tyranny. I stand firmly behind those who hold this conviction, and in the United States Senate I will vigorously defend our God-given, unalienable right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience for all Americans.
Ultimately, America needs to formally and explicitly protect the right to life of all innocent persons in its Constitution and laws. This includes the unborn and other vulnerable groups. In order to achieve our highest potential as a great and free republic in which every person is of equal and infinite value, elective abortion and physician assisted suicide, like chattel slavery, must become things of the past.
Having a United States Senator who is committed to protecting the sanctity of human life, and who has the courage to stand up for life, will be a great asset to our state and our country. It will instruct his view on all issues, including such pressing matters as how to deal ethically and compassionately with an aging population, even as our seniors face the threat of an increasingly uncertain health care system that is struggling to remain solvent.
Now, more than ever, we need a senator who knows that protecting the right to life is what is best for all Americans, not just some.