WASHINGTON, D.C.—Billed as a “compromise amendment,” SJ Resolution 110, introduced a few months ago by Senator Orrin Hatch (R. Utah) and now before the Senate Judiciary Committee states: “A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution. The Congress and the several states have the concurrent power to restrict and prohibit abortions. Provided that a law of a State which is more restrictive than a law of Congress shall govern.” The law would eliminate the Constitutional right to abortion for all women. No exceptions are provided for, not even to save the life of the woman. It is not a States’ Rights Amendment, for Congress still maintains the right to pass federal legislation on this issue.
This is the first Constitutional amendment to be endorsed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, who also do not view its passage as a compromise but rather as a first step in the campaign to eliminate all abortions. Should this amendment pass, the Catholic hierarchy intends to introduce, as its next step, a bill that would eliminate all abortions for all women that could be passed by a simple majority vote.
Anti-choice groups are not all enthusiastic about supporting this amendment, for many feel that, in principle, it does not go far enough.
Should this amendment fail to pass (it has already been passed by the Judiciary Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Constitution) current plans call for consideration of the Human Life Statute (S. 158) which would, by a simple majority vote, by-pass the Constitutional amendment process and change the Constitutional definition of “person” to include a fetus. (See “The Jewish Stake in Abortion Rights,” in LILITH #8).