Supreme Court Declines Case On Constitutional Rights Of Unborn

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a case to decide whether the unborn have constitutional rights after their landmark decision overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

The case was brought by a Catholic group and two pregnant women on behalf of their unborn children. It challenged a 2019 Rhode Island law codifying the right to abortion, but the state Supreme Court ruled the fetuses did not have proper legal standing to bring the case.

It relied on 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision in its ruling.

Then, however, the high court overturned Roe in June, and the Rhode Island plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to take on their case.

In their request, the petitioners called on “the full and comprehensive history and tradition of our Constitution and law supporting personhood for unborn human beings.”

They further argued that the case was a chance for the court to take on the question of personhood. Catholics for Life and the two individual plaintiffs asserted that the 14th Amendment grants a fetus due process and equal protection.

In 1973’s Roe, the high court ruled that the Amendment’s use of the word “person” does not apply to the unborn.

The court declined the plaintiff’s request without comment.

Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee celebrated the court’s rejecting the case, calling it a “frivolous appeal.” His spokesman noted the governor is dedicated to exercising his veto power “to block any legislation that would take our state backward.”

In the June ruling, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the court took no position on whether prenatal life is subject to any constitutional rights “enjoyed after birth.”

Some states have since enacted fetal personhood laws. Georgia, for example, would grant an unborn child at six weeks of pregnancy various legal rights and protections afforded to someone already born.

As for Rhode Island, it previously had a criminal statute prohibiting abortion. But after Roe, a federal court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The state in 2019 enacted the Reproductive Privacy Act to codify abortion into Rhode Island law.