Life at Conception Act

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Article summary (how summaries work)

The Life at Conception Act (S.346) is a bill to allow 14th amendment equal protection rights to extend to each "preborn" human person.[1] The bill was introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on January 29, 2009 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill currently has 9 co-sponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Republicans.


Bill summary

The Life at Conception Act seeks to revise the legal definition of human being to "preborn" humans, which would guarantee a right to life for the unborn.


The bill defines a human being or human person as "each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, and other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being."[2]

Following this definition, the bill seeks to extend the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment to include all human beings or persons. Essentially, the bill provides a constitutional right to life for the unborn by changing the legal definition of human being.

Passage of the bill would make Roe v. Wade's decision irrelevant. In the majority opinion written by Justice Blackmun, the court acknowledged that “if this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [i.e., “Roe”], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”[3]

Bill history

This bill was originally introduced by Sen.Wicker in the 110th Congress as S.3111[1] on June 11, 2008. It had 12 co-sponsors at the time, including current Republican Senators Samuel Brownback, Jim Bunning, Richard Burr, Thomas Coburn, Jim DeMint, Michael Enzi, James Inhofe, Mel Martinez, John Thune, David Vitter, George Voinovich, and now former Republican Senator Wayne Allard. The bill was introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but did not advance from there.

The Life at Conception Act was dubbed one of the "5 unpopular bills that will be back in the next session of Congress" according to's Battle Royale in December, 2008. [4]

Following its re-introduction in the 111th Congress, Sen. Wicker made the following statement:

“In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court refused to define when life begins, thus delegating this determination to the legislative branch. This legislation clearly defines that life begins at the moment of conception, a belief that is commonly held by most Americans and is something science has long proven.” [5]

Articles and resources


  1. "OpenCongress bill information," OpenCongress
  2. "OpenCongress bill information," OpenCongress
  3. "ROE v. WADE, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)", FindLaw
  4. "5 Unpopular Bills That Will be Back in the Next Session of Congress" OpenCongress, December 18, 2008.
  5. "Senators Re-Introduce the Life at Conception Act",, January 29, 2009.

External resources

External articles