Interview with Amy Sinclair, a pro-life Senator
Amy Sinclair, a Senator from Iowa in the USA, gave an interview to S4C.news on the occasion of her visit to Hungary, on the 24th of October last. In the interview, we asked her about the "Heartbeat Bill," about the recently passed abortion bill in Northern Ireland and about the Alabama State's abortion law.
As a pro-life advocate, you are making significant efforts to pass the ‘Heartbeat Bill’ in Iowa. What motivates you to follow this path, and what are your personal convictions regarding this bill?
What motivates me as a pro-life advocate is the conviction that every human life has its own unique value; human beings possess this intrinsic value, by the simple fact that they exist.
When you take up office, you swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Iowa and the Constitution of the USA. Both of those documents talk about the rights of the person and the very first right listed is the right to life. So if I am to faithfully uphold the oath that I took, my primary responsibility must be to defend the lives of the individuals in the State of Iowa. As a woman, I also think it is essential to be brave by insisting that unborn children, who do not have a voice of their own, have at least a right to my voice—as their senator, to speak out in their defence.
Just three days ago they passed a bill in Northern Ireland which allows women to have abortions on demand, up to the 28th week of gestation under certain circumstances. The human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, welcomed the decision; the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference called it inhuman. What do you think about it?
Personally, I think it is inhuman. Our whole idea as a society is to protect those who are weaker than us. I can’t understand how an organisation like Amnesty International can say that this is a victory for human rights.
I cannot comprehend where the victory lies by allowing the killing of children, especially those who have disabilities.
Everything within us should strive to protect people with disabilities. We should not choose to allow their death, because they have a disability or just because their parents don’t want them. That is disconcerting. I would completely agree with the bishops when they say that it is inhuman to permit the murder of children. I don’t see how it can be a human rights issue when it involves [taking] the life of another individual.
What is the difference between the beliefs of an entity such as Amnesty International, and your beliefs? Is there a difference between their view of human rights and yours?
Maybe it’s a matter of where we place our priorities. As a legislator whose job it is to defend life, as my constitution says, I think the uppermost priority of all citizens is their right to life. Other rights exist and have their value, but the first priority should [always] be the right to life. I suppose they [Amnesty International] have placed their priorities in a different order than mine. When they put the rights of a woman, not to be a mother, or not to have to give birth, above the right of other individuals to their own life, they confuse priorities. In my opinion that would be the difference.
I agree that every woman has rights over her own body. But they have no rights over the body of another person, over the living body of the unborn child.
So the priority should be the babies?
No, the priority should be life. None of the work that I did in Iowa would have placed the value of the unborn child’s life over the value of the mother’s life. All life matters and the woman certainly has the right to defend her own life. If the unborn child is a threat to her life, she certainly has the right to protect herself.
But my first priority, as a governor, should be to defend the life of all citizens. That is my primary goal. All other rights and responsibilities come behind that.
After I read into this case, I found that the so-called ‘Heartbeat Bills’ were blocked everywhere except Alabama State. Where is the bill now, and what progress has been achieved so far?
There are some differences in each of the states. Every state is a distinct entity. Where the federal government falls silent, the laws are decided by each state. So that is how the United States has come up with all these individual states having their own particular laws related to the protection of human life.
The difference with Alabama is that their supreme court has come out and said that the unborn child has rights, as would any other person. Their supreme court has confirmed what their representatives said. In Iowa, our supreme court did almost exactly the opposite when we passed the law. So that is a big difference. I believe the bill has a place in Alabama’s law. Several of these bills will find their way to our federal supreme court because now we have Roe v Wade, which equates abortion as a right to privacy. But we already know that it is not. Abortion is about killing a human being, and it cannot be a question of privacy.
What are the chances to overturn Roe v Wade?
I talked about viability, and I talked about the definition of personhood, that Alabama has essentially defined. Roe v Wade also has both of those elements in it. They talk about the question of viability, and they talk about the definition of who a person is. But now we have new information concerning both areas, that we did not have when Roe v Wade was enacted, so the law should be reformulated.
With the advancement of medical technology, viability is different today than it was in 1973. In 1973, in the United States, if a woman gave birth at 20 or 21 weeks, the child would have died. With the advancement of medical technology, the premature baby most likely would live now. The other difference is that much genetic research has been done. They identify clearly that this unborn child is a separate and distinct human being from the mother. So when we are talking about the mother’s body, we are talking about another entity. And that has been medically proven since 1973.
My eldest child is 24 years old. When I was pregnant with him, they did not want me giving birth before 36 weeks of gestation, because there was a huge risk that he would not survive.
After a few years, there were seven premature twins born in Iowa. Seven babies were born early, and those children are now 20 years old, and healthy.
When we talk about the Roe v Wade case, and ask if there is a possibility to overturn it, I think, there certainly is, because the medical technology since Roe v Wade has changed and advanced so much. Roe v Wade defined who a person is, and now, Alabama State gave a new definition; that could change the situation.
Interviewer: Bence Dallos