Saying unborn children should have the "inalienable right" to life, Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, introduced on Wednesday a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

He has introduced similar amendments - so far unsuccessfully - in every Congress since he was elected in 1974, and introduced it this year on the first day that senators could file bills. He has hoped to nullify the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion.Garn's amendment would define the word "person" in the Constitution to mean all human beings, "including their offspring at every stage of biological development" - but would still allow abortion if needed to avoid the death of the mother.

Garn said, "In all my readings of the Constitution, I have never found an all-encompassing right to abortion. I have always understood that it was the function of the document to protect what Jefferson called those `inalienable rights,' first and foremost of which is life.

"I do not see how the Constitution can be construed to sanction the wholesale destruction of human life that is taking place in our society today at the rate of over 1.5 million lives per year," he said.

"The fact that is so conveniently overlooked, however, is that once a woman becomes pregnant, another separate human being is involved who deserves some sort of protection and whose rights should be considered. Because the Supreme Court entirely disregarded this fact does not justify our doing so."