In light of its June decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade judgement that had made abortion legal nationally, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to rule on whether fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights, forgoing for the time being another front in the culture wars in America.
The justices rejected a challenge to a 2019 state law codifying the right to abortion in accordance with the Roe precedent brought by a Catholic group and two women. The lower court’s ruling ruling held that fetuses lacked the necessary legal standing to bring the complaint. The two ladies sued on behalf of their unborn children when they were still pregnant at the time the lawsuit was initially brought.
With regard to whether and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth, conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the June opinion reversing the abortion rights precedent that the court had not taken a view.
enacted in Georgia affects fetuses beginning at roughly six weeks of pregnancy. These so-called fetal personhood laws, which would give babies before birth a variety of legal rights and protections similar to those of any person, have been pursued by some Republicans at the state level.
The termination of a pregnancy can be regarded as murder under such rules.
The case offers the court the chance to address that inevitable question head-on by determining whether fetuses have the due process and equal protection rights granted by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, according to attorneys for Catholics for Life and the two women from Rhode Island, 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 had acknowledged that a woman’s ability to end her pregnancy was protected by the right to personal privacy guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Before the Roe decision, there was a criminal legislation in Rhode Island that forbade abortions. The Rhode Island statute was found illegal after the Roe decision by a federal court, and it was not in force when the Democratic-led legislature passed the 2019 Reproductive Privacy Act.
The 2019 statute, which enshrined the then-status quo under Roe in terms of abortion rights, was signed by Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who was the state’s governor at the time and is now President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary.
Since the Supreme Court’s abortion decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June, more than a dozen states have implemented nearly complete prohibitions on abortion.