Judicial on House Bill 1-111. An Act to: Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks.
Focusing on Constitutionality
Lauran Studdard (TRHS) and Claire Davis (Pueblo West) were arguing that House Bill 1-111 was constitutional.
Valeria Banos Vazquez (Gateway) and Trentyn Wilson (Pueblo West) were arguing that the bill was unconstitutional.
Abortion has always been a very controversial topic that many people have strong feelings for, since it deals with life and death, basic human rights, and the matters of personal choice. House Bill 1-111 written by Edward Fantauzzo (Resurrection Christian School) suggests that, in order to reach a compromise between the right and left side on abortion, all abortions after twenty weeks are banned. Many states have already implemented this policy, and the National Public Radio supports this by saying “… 10 states already ban abortions at 20 weeks and two others are defending such laws in court” (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/22/378852507/states- continue-push-to-ban-abortions-after-20-weeks).
In order to fully understand the motivation behind writing this bill, the author, Edward Fantauzzo, was interviewed.
Q: “Why did you write this bill?”
A: “I wanted to mainly make it a compromise between the left and the right. At 20 weeks a child can begin to feel pain, the child has a consciousness, has brain activity, it can move, its heart is beating, its breathing, its receiving nutrients from food. It’s becoming a human being. (Facts received from: Planned Parenthood, scientists who have worked at Planned Parenthood, and different research foundations for medical institutions). It’s becoming a human being, so it has basic human rights. Almost every major thing that will affect the mother can be detected before 20 weeks.”
Q: “Your bill was deemed as unconstitutional in a vote of six to one, but why do you believe it is constitutional?”
A: “In article one, section eight [of the United States Constitution], I believe, talks about the Congress’s responsibilities, and one of its responsibilities is defense and providing for the general welfare. It is important for us to defend those unborn children who cannot defend themselves and protect their general welfare.”
Q: “Earlier you talked about reaching compromise between the right and the left, but is compromise the best way to go about this when we’re trying to decide who lives and who dies?”
A: “When it’s abortion, around twenty weeks it becomes a human life. It’s a compromised solution. It’s a step in the right direction for me because I would prefer to not have any abortions. However, I know that will not happen because I am not naive. So, what I want to do is take a step in the right direction and begin that process off at a good start.”
However, with all of this information taken into consideration, the opposing side argued that this bill was not constitutional. A human being was defined in the beginning of the debate as, ‘anything that could move and had a brain.’ Trentyn Wilson made the observation that 1% of abortions still take place after twenty weeks, so these abortions are still a prevalent issue. He explains that, “There are cases where it is necessary in multiple circumstances where they had to get an abortion. This violates the constitution in that it blocks the freedom of choice because there are some cases where the mother’s or the baby’s health is in danger.” His primary source used throughout his speech is https://www.plannedparenthood action.org/. He also points out that there was already a Supreme Court Case called Roe v. Wade which says that this ban is unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade decided that it is a constitutional right for a woman to make her own personal medical decisions. This bill would stop her from doing this even if her life is in danger because this bill has no exceptions.
Justice Ayla Whitaker (Resurrection Christian School) asked, “When does a baby get rights?” while Justice Collin Smith (Resurrection Christian School) asked, “Your definition of life does not include all things that are living?” However, neither side was able to fully answer either of these questions which made it so the Supreme Court had to spend extra time deciding the bill is constitutional or not.
Overall, the Supreme Court’s decision was six to one. They deemed it is unconstitutional because of the first right to privacy in the fourteenth amendment. The bill also does not specify late pregnancy emergencies, which made it unable to be passed. Abortion is very difficult topic, and it will continue to be debated about for many years.
Author: Sierra Snyder
Photographer: Jenna Heckman