This Independence Day, Remember the 14th Amendment for All, Including the Preborn  

Jordan Estabrook - 04 Jul 2024

Americans have celebrated July 4, 1776, every year for over 200 years to remember when the United States of America (USA) became free as an independent nation. As history moves off into the distance, it’s easy to think that America earned independence from Britain over a short period – the truth is that it took time and dedicated and sacrificial men and women.

Even when freedom rang for the country, some fought even further for equal rights for all races. A few notable people fighting for racial equality, though many exist, are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr. One of the first-wave feminist leaders, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote the Declaration of Sentiments criticizing women’s lack of citizenship and voting rights.   

We won these battles. And now, there is another fight for freedom that continues and one of America’s most prominent blood stains: the death of the preborn. Abortion makes the ranks with slavery, racism, and citizen inequality as one of America’s most damning indictments. 

Over 63 million lives were lost before they could breathe or even let out a word in their defense. Their blood was shed with no ability to fight back. They were taken from their home without warning or mercy. They don’t get a vote on whether their lives matter or not.   

Those who can speak for them have a key piece of America’s cornerstone to back them up: The 14th Amendment, which Rep. John Bingham authored months after the Civil War ended in 1865. After much debate and deliberation, the 14th Amendment passed in 1866, and it declares:   

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  

Rep. Bingham explained the need for such an amendment: “a simple, strong, plain declaration that equal laws and equal and exact justice shall hereafter be secured within every State of the Union.”  

Indeed, it is simple – freedom belongs to the preborn as well. However, the fight is far from straightforward. Corruption of thoughts and morals, as well as forgetting our history, plague our nation. Much like the slavery abolitionist movement and first-wave feminism, it was not fixed with merely a flick of the legislative pen. Rather, it started and ended with the dedication of unwavering, strategic, and sacrificial men and women who dedicated their lives to changing laws AND minds, with the risk of mockery, injury, ridicule, and even death, to truly fight for liberty for all.   

The same applies to fighting for the preborn. With a snap of the fingers, we wish that America can wholeheartedly and undeniably give all babies a chance at life. We want the reversal of Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year fight, to be the end. Though there have been victories along the way, the road is still challenging. As we celebrate freedom today, preborn lives are still snuffed out daily. But with great hope, the same freedom allowed to us by the 14th Amendment will enable us to make a case for individual rights for the most vulnerable and voiceless in America. 

Under the 14th Amendment, Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality regardless of skin color, and Stanton made her case for women’s rights. And so, we continue to do the same. Frederick Douglass aptly stated:  

“A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest Citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown without delay.” 

Today, under the law, we can fight for the humblest and most innocent among us, the preborn, with our votes and voices until all are free. The votes change the law, but our voices change people’s minds. Finally, the 14th Amendment echoes the founding fathers most popular and important sentiment from the Declaration of Independence, one that we ought to keep in mind this Independence Day:  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

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