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Studies in Law and Medicine

The Hatch Amendment: A Legal Analysis

Americans United for Life published “Studies in Law and Medicine” in the 1970s and 1980s, spotlighting issues pertaining to the human right to life across the bioethics spectrum. As Americans United for Life celebrates our 50th anniversary, we are making these issues available for the first time since their print publication.

The Hatch Amendment: A Legal Analysis by Dennis J. Horan and Victor G. Rosenblum

The Hatch Amendment: A Legal Analysis consists of testimonies presented before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, November 16, 1981.

Dennis J. Horan’s testimony presents fundamental flaws in Roe’s reasoning: The United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade declared abortion to be a fundamental “right” under our Constitution and human beings before birth to be allegedly unprotectable entities in the face of this alleged “right” except under narrow, practically meaningless circumstances. In essence, the decision-making authority on abortion away from the public forum to the pregnant woman and her physician, encapsulating them both within an alleged constitutionally protected “zone of privacy.” Whether or not an unborn child should live or die thus became a matter without public scrutiny or control. The value of each unborn child came to depend solely on the views of the woman who bears the child. Not even the child’s father can prevent a unilateral decision to cause the death of their offspring.  

Victor G. Rosenblum’s testimony proposed a Senate Joint Resolution for an Amendment to the Constitution relative to abortion. S.J. Res 110 would reverse Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and all their progeny insofar as they are based on judicial recognition of a constitutionally protected abortional liberty. Henceforth, statutes that restrict or prohibit abortion would be valid if rationally related to the protection of unborn human life. S.J. Res. 110, which provides “concurrent power” to restrict and prohibit abortion to the states and to Congress, would permit both the states and the Congress to legislate, and there is no possibility that their laws could come into genuine conflict.