Friday, August 03, 2007

Forget about Roe v. Wade

What Does U.S. Law Say About Abortion?
Neal Ross

Ever since I became interested in politics and our Constitution I have spent hours researching laws and quotes to support the letters and articles I write. As I go along, I find it amazing how many laws there are that people either don't understand, or they are completely unaware of. I find it more amazing how many laws we have that our government is either totally unaware of or they misinterpret.

Up until last week I, myself, was completely unaware that Titles 1 thru 5 of the United States Code contain the laws that govern our government. I always thought that the Constitution was the only law that our government was expected to uphold.

Once I started reading these first five titles of the U.S. Code, I became amazed at some of the information contained therein. I was not so much amazed at the absurdity or the idiocy of these laws, on the contrary some of them made perfect sense. Yet to listen to our elected representatives today you would think that they also are completely oblivious of their existence.

A quick example. Remember recently how our Congress tried to pass legislation defining marriage? They wanted to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and declare homosexual relationships as civil unions. There was a lot of controversy over that, and it never was passed.

The reason I bring this particular example up is this. If you were to go to U.S. Code, Title 1 Chapter 1, Subsection 7 you will find the following;

"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

Why would our Congress even consider trying to pass any kind of legislation which defines marriage, when there already is law that does exactly that? It makes me wonder how many other instances Congress has tried to 'reinvent the wheel'.

However, the definition of marriage is not the subject of this paper, abortion is. Before I go one step further, I am not attempting to sway anyone's personal opinion concerning abortion. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs on that subject. I myself am against abortion, I believe it is a sin against God and completely unethical. However, my purpose here is to define the legal foundation, or lack thereof, for abortion according to existing U.S. law.

In searching the United States Code I used two references. First I used Cornell University Law School's webpage,, as it is easier for me to find the particular statutes I am looking for. I also used the House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsels webpage,

One of the central arguments used to support abortion rights is the definition of a human being, or when a fetus or embryo becomes a human being. Those in favor of abortion rights have given an unborn fetus a scientific name, which in my opinion is designed to take away from the fact that it is in fact a developing human being. They call these unborn fetuses, zygotes. They claim that just because a zygote is alive does not give it full human rights, including the right not to be aborted.

However, if you were to read U.S. Code, Title 1, Chapter 1, Subsection 8 you would find the following;



Sec. 8. "Person", "human being", "child", and "individual" as including born-alive infant


(a) In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words "person", "human being", "child", and "individual", shall include every
infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

(b) As used in this section, the term "born alive", with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being "born alive" as defined in this section.

I find this extremely interesting because many people have made pro choice a litmus test for them in regards to choosing who to vote for in the upcoming 2008 presidential election. I wonder how the pro choice supporters would feel if they read this statute of U.S. law?

This law states that a "person", "human being", "child", and "individual", shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development".

The requirements for being considered born alive state that they apply "regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion."

One of those requirements is that after being expelled or extracted, the fetus must have a beating heart. According to the online Pregnancy Guide located at,, "For the first 6 weeks, the baby is called an embryo. The heart, lungs, and brain are beginning to develop and the tiny heart will beat by the 25th day."

If this is true, then by the 25th day a fetus has a beating heart, and it fits the definition of a person according to U.S. law.

According to, the definition for murder is, "A person commits the crime of murder if with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of that person...", and the definition for first degree murder is, "First degree murder is defined by federal and state laws, which vary by state, but generally define it as a killing which is deliberate and premeditated."

If you follow the logic, a 25 day old fetus is considered a person by U.S. law by virtue of it having a beating heart. First degree murder is murder which is deliberate and premeditated. No one accidentally gets an abortion. They choose to do so, making it deliberate and premeditated, the exact terms which apply to first degree murder. Therefore, abortion is murder, according to U.S. law.

To be found guilty of first degree murder, it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:

First, the defendant unlawfully killed [victim];
Second, the defendant killed [victim] with malice aforethought;
Third, the killing was premeditated; and
Fourth, the killing occurred at [location stated in indictment].

To prove that a defendant unlawfully killed a person by having an abortion is simple when you consider that if the abortion wasn't performed the baby would have been delivered and therefore remained alive.

To kill with malice aforethought means to kill either deliberately and intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. Again, abortions are not accidental, it is a conscious decision made by the mother to end the pregnancy, deliberate and intentional without regard for the life they are about to take.

Premeditation means with planning or deliberation. The amount of time needed for premeditation of a killing depends on the person and the circumstances. It must be long enough, after forming the intent to kill, for the killer to have been fully conscious of the intent and to have considered the killing.

Therefore if you add Title 1 of the U.S. Code as to what defines a person to the definition for first degree murder, you can come to no other conclusion other than this, abortion is first degree murder of a defenseless unborn human.

The simple logic of this conclusion is why I find the fact that our government seems to be oblivious to law so fascinating, and troubling at the same time. Our Supreme Court has already ruled on the subject of abortion in Roe versus Wade.

In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all laws that restricted abortion were unconstitutional, as they violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. They ruled that abortions are permissible for any reason a woman chooses up until the point at which the fetus becomes viable. In rendering this decision the court went against the definition of what constitutes a person according to existing U.S. law found in Title 1, Chapter 1, Subsection 8.

The subject of abortion is always present in the presidential elections. This is particularly true in regards to how a president might select new Supreme Court Justices who might have the chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The fact of the matter is, that no matter how the Supreme Court rules, or what laws Congress passes in regards to protecting a woman's right to choose an abortion, but if you follow the laws contained in the United States Code, you have to agree that abortion fits the category of first degree murder, the premeditated murder of an unborn child. Whether or not you believe it is justified matters not, the law is the law, and according to our laws, and the definitions contained therein, abortion is a crime.

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