This article contends that the Missouri legislative statement is a theologically derived finding that personhood begins at the moment of conception. Such an inherently theological and controversial determination violates a core purpose of the establishment clause of the first amendment, the absolute prohibition against government preference of one religious sect or denomination over another and the placing of the state's imprimatur on a particular religious dogma. What follows is a synopsis of the religious debate over whether human life begins at conception. Next is a discussion of the statute in light of this debate in the context of establishment clause jurisprudence. The article will then conclude with a review of the Supreme Court decision and its implications.
Dr. Robert L. Maddox and Blaine Bortnick, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services: Do Legislative Declarations That Life Begins at Conception Violate the Establishment Clause?, 12 Campbell L. Rev. 1 (1989).