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Thursday, February 2, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses the Challenge to Fetal Personhood

The Supreme Court of Rhode Island ruled that fetuses lacked the necessary legal standing to file the lawsuit

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UNITED STATES: In light of its June decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade judgment that had made abortion legal nationally, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to rule on whether fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights, avoiding for the time being opening a new front in the country’s culture wars.

The justices rejected a Catholic organization’s and two women’s appeal of a lower court’s decision denying their appeal of their challenge to a 2019 Rhode Island statute that established the right to abortion in accordance with the Roe precedent.

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Both of the two plaintiffs, who were expecting at the time the case was filed, ultimately gave birth after filing the lawsuit on behalf of their fetuses.

The Supreme Court of Rhode Island ruled that fetuses lacked the necessary legal standing to file the lawsuit.

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In the June decision overturning the precedent for abortion rights, conservative Justice Samuel Alito stated that the court “If and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth.”

Fetal personhood laws, such as the one Georgia passed that applies to fetuses starting at roughly six weeks of pregnancy, have been pursued by some Republicans at the state level.

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These laws would provide fetuses before birth with a variety of legal rights and protections similar to those of any person.

Legally ending a pregnancy could be seen as murder under such rules.

The case “presents the opportunity for this court to meet that inevitable question head on” by determining whether fetuses possess due process and equal protection rights granted by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, according to attorneys for Catholics for Life and the two Rhode Island women, Nichole Leigh Rowley and Jane Doe.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court determined that the 14th Amendment did not grant rights to fetuses by relying on the Roe ruling, which has since been overturned.

The Roe decision acknowledged that a woman’s ability to end her pregnancy was protected by the right to personal privacy guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The 2019 bill was signed by Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who was the state’s governor at the time and is currently Secretary of Commerce under President Joe Biden. It reaffirmed the Roe-era status quo in terms of abortion rights.

Also Read: Arizona Appeals Court Temporarily Overturns Abortion Ban

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