"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the GOP platform states, according to CNN. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
First, two thirds of both the House and the Senate would have to approve the amendment. Then, it would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the States. Which means they would all have to agree that fertilized human eggs should be invested with Constitutionally protected "personhood" rights based on the 14th Amendment (which part? please do discuss as I'm not clear on that). And even if none of them are willing to say it out loud, the GOP amendment could not include any exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomaly.
Before I go on, let me be clear up front: While this article is about "fetal personhood" I'm deliberately not going into any detail right now about how detrimental a "personhood" amendment banning abortion would be as far as women's rights are concerned. But I think an amendment containing exceptions would be even more so, not just for women but also from the very "fetal personhood" point of view the amendment is supposed to be championing.
Because if a fertilized egg is to be considered to be a legal person, isn't it still a person no matter how it was conceived, who its parents are, or whether it's genetically or physically good enough? If it's acceptable that a person conceived from rape or by the "wrong" parents or who has (or is presumed to have) a genetic or physical defect can be denied the same Constitutional right to life every other person has before birth, does he or she gain that right afterward? If "we the people" EVER have Constitutional rights, when are they supposed to start for ALL of us? At fertilization? At viability? At birth? Or only when - or for however long - the government decides we deserve them?
If a "fetal personhood" amendment to the Constitution includes exceptions, it seems to me that the whole thing would fall apart. How can brand new Constitutional rights be conferred on an entirely new class of "people" who never had them before....but only on the ones who were conceived in - or who have physically developed in - the "right" way?
The only potential exemption I haven't brought up is an exemption based on the life/health of the woman. That one exemption isn't really part of a "fetal personhood" discussion in my mind (although I'm not trying rule it out). Presuming a pregnant woman still retains her own legal personhood rights (which is another discussion worth having) then she should still have the right to defend herself against another person threatening her. But I don't think including that exemption would make the such an amendment either any better or any worse as far as what it would do to Constitutional rights.
I do think including the other exemptions would make it much, much worse, though. Either all fertilized eggs are people with "right to life which cannot be infringed" or all women are people with the right to determine whether, when and how to reproduce. Basing those rights on the circumstances of conception, parentage, or the fitness of the fetus sends the message that not only are only certain "acceptable" types of unborn worthy of Constitutional protection, only certain "acceptable" types of women are.