Arkansas Senate lawmakers narrowly rejected a measure on Monday that would have urged states to unify to amend the U.S. Constitution and ban abortions, the Times Record reports.
The measure, Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 9, failed by one vote. It would have requested a national convention to consider a Constitutional amendment that would ban abortions and protect unborn babies from the moment of conception.
Here’s more from the report:
SJR 9 would request a convention to propose an amendment “providing that every human being from the moment of conception is a person and entitled to the right to life.”
The measure received 17 votes in support and six against, with 11 members declining to vote.
On both proposals, the senators who cast votes split along party lines, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no.
Under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, 34 states would have to call for a constitutional convention for one to be held. A proposed amendment would have to be ratified by 38 states to become part of the Constitution.
State Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican, said he will not give up on the measure.
“I’m going to come back,” he told his fellow lawmakers.
Constitutional amendments are very difficult to pass, and some lawyers have cautioned pro-lifers that certain types of amendments may not be effective in ending legalized abortion in the United States.
In a 2011 column at LifeNews, attorney Paul Linton with the Thomas More Society said changing the Fourteenth Amendment to define an unborn child as a “person” likely would not succeed in ending abortion.
According to Linton’s analysis:
Roe [v. Wade] can be overturned only by a decision of the Court itself overruling Roe or by a federal constitutional amendment–neither a federal statute enacted under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment defining the word “person” as used in § 1 of the Amendment, nor a statute removing the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction over abortion cases would have that effect.
Rapert’s proposal appears to be a federal constitutional amendment, not a change to the Fourteenth Amendment; however, this is not entirely clear from reports about the legislation.