Paramount - that is how Mississippi HC 14 describes the "right to life." The wording is precise and simple but the consequences are less so.
This statement is a contradiction of Roe v. Wade which states that the unborn's right to life and the mother's right to liberty must be balanced. It is also a contradiction of another fundamental human principle, one that helped birth our nation - that a life without freedom is not worth living.
Let's begin by examining the word "paramount" as defined by Dictionary.com:
If the right to life is paramount, then it takes precedence over every other human right - including the right to be a free citizen. If the right to life is the most important right, then everything else must necessarily fall by the wayside.
My right to life is more important than my right to smoke cigarettes.
My right to life is more important than my right to drink alcohol.
My right to life is more important than my right to own a gun.
My right to life is more important than my right to eat junk food.
My right to life is more important than my right to own a pit bull.
My right to life is more important than my right to die for my faith.
My right to life is more important than my right to die for my country.
My right to life is more important than my right to choose anything.
Who decides what's best for my life and enforces those choices? The government.
And don't think you are exempt. My right to life is greater than your liberties too. If I'm dying of kidney disease, I have a right to demand your kidney. My right to life is greater than your liberty to choose. I can demand your blood, your tissues, and your organs to stay alive - so long as your right to life isn't compromised - and you have no choice.
Better yet, I'll demand stem cells from your newborn. He won't remember the procedure and, by god, I HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE!
Defining the right to life as "paramount" creates the ultimate nanny state but it isn't socialism that's pushing the pram - it's conservative religion that seeks to impose its will through government since they can no longer do it through culture.
Is it likely that this law would be used to such an extent as described above? Probably not. It's pretty much just a trigger law that would become effective if Roe were overturned. But when we write this concept into law, we should be prepared to enforce it fully; otherwise, we become a state of liars and hypocrites.
The Mississippi Constitution already (incorrectly) describes the unborn as being a "human being" for legal purposes. HC 14 is an unnecessary distraction from legitimate government business and likely a bone tossed at wealthy conservative and religious donors. Nevertheless, it's a bad bill that has no business being on the roster. Rep. Gibson should, once again, be ashamed of himself.