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Truth Squad assigns five ratings to the political statements we review, in descending levels of accuracy:
80th State House District GOP Primary
|Who:||Cindy Gamrat For State Representative|
|What:||Website campaign statements|
“I also believe that life is protected under the 14th Amendment of our Constitution and support Sen. Rand Paul's Senate Bill 583, the Life at Conception Act, which he introduced on March 14th, 2013. As State Representative I would sponsor a Life at Conception Act in Michigan, which could potentially save the lives of more than 23,000 babies who are aborted each year in our state....Without life, there is no liberty or pursuit of happiness for that child.”
Gamrat, a nurse from Plainwell, is among a quartet of Republicans seeking to succeed Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, who is term-limited in this Republican-leaning West Michigan district. Her opponents include Mary Whiteford, a former emergency room nurse; Allegan Township Supervisor Steven Schulz and Randy Brink, a former Allegan County commissioner. Gamrat is known for strong tea party roots and is a proponent of gun rights, traditional marriage and Michigan's right-to-work law. She calls herself “100 percent pro-life without exception.”
Her support for the Life at Conception Act raises tricky questions about human development and protection of the unborn that inform much of the oft-contentious debate over abortion.
Paul's proposed legislation provides protection “for the right to life of each born and preborn human person” and defines that to include “each member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” There is considerable disagreement over whether a fertilized egg – which scientists call a zygote – fits that description. Development of this organism into a fetus cannot happen until it travels through the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterine wall, a process which typically takes several days.
A significant percentage of fertilized eggs – which some estimate at 50 percent – never implant in the uterus and die. At 21 days, the embryo is about one-twelfth of an inch long. If “human person” is defined as beginning at the moment of fertilization, then use of common forms of birth control, including the pill and intrauterine device, could be construed as violation of the proposed act's protection.
The pill works primarily by preventing ovulation, but it is possible it makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The IUD works primarily by preventing fertilization but also by preventing implantation in the uterus. In theory, passage of a Life at Conception Act would not only ban all abortion but also common forms of birth control.
By logical extension, it could pose further questions about the right of parents to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos at fertility clinics around the country.
Debate over abortion, the rights of the mother, what constitutes human life and protection of the unborn is never easy and seldom devoid of strong emotion. There is no reason to doubt that Gamrat's statement of support for a Life at Conception Act is sincere and deeply held. It is a philosophic and moral point of view shared by many, including the Catholic Church. But the act's definition of what constitutes a human being may oversimplify scientific understanding of human development. If enforced, it would impinge on the right of women to exercise common forms of birth control.