Rep. Lamborn introduces legislation to replace ‘fetus’ with ‘unborn child’ in federal law

By: - December 9, 2021 10:39 am
Trump rally Colorado Springs

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, shakes hands with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Colorado Springs Rep. Doug Lamborn has introduced legislation to replace the word “fetus” with “unborn child” in all federal law. 

The Recognizing the Unborn Act of 2021 would amend the wording of several codes, including sections within Title 18, which is the primary criminal code of the federal government, by replacing the words “fetus” and “fetuses” with “unborn child” and “unborn children.”

The act would also amend wording in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.


“Every single human, born or unborn, is endowed by their creator and deserves the right to life,” Lamborn said in a statement last week. “This is why I introduced the ‘Recognizing the Unborn Act,’ which acknowledges the inherent fact that an unborn child is a human life. Far too often, those on the left try to dehumanize and degrade the life of unborn children” 

The legislation comes at an unprecedented time when states have enacted over 100 abortion restrictions so far in 2021, the highest number of restrictions since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that focuses on reproductive rights and health. Roe v. Wade established a woman’s legal right to receive an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. 

This month, the Supreme Court is deciding whether a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation is constitutional. The landmark case is primarily focused on whether all “pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions” are unconstitutional. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health would overturn Roe v. Wade if upheld, and if that happens several other states are poised to enact their own bans or restrictions on abortions quickly. 

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 8, which prohibits abortions in Texas after about the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. (Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

In the statement, Lamborn called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health a “a case that I hope overturns Roe v. Wade and serves as a turning point in the pro-life movement.”

Texas Senate Bill 8 went in effect in September and effectively bans abortion after the detection of fetal cardiac activity. This typically occurs at around six weeks gestation, which is before many women know they are pregnant. 

Lamborn has been outspoken about his anti-abortion views. In January, he introduced legislation that would require abortion providers to inform women seeking medical abortions about the medically-unsubstantiated claim of the possibility of reversing the abortion. In 2019, he called abortion a “failure of our society to provide support to someone in need.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Because Democratic lawmakers make up the majority of the House of Representatives, the act is unlikely to pass. 

Last week, Colorado Democratic legislators announced plans to introduce the Reproductive Health Equity Act in the 2022 legislative session, which would protect abortion access in Colorado. 

Abortion remains legal in Colorado.


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