The Supreme Court of the United States declined on Tuesday to take on a case centered on the personhood of preborn children.
The case involves a lawsuit filed by Catholics for Life and two pro-life activists on behalf of their preborn children against Rhode Island’s Reproductive Privacy Act, which made abortion a state right when it was signed into law in 2019. The pro-lifers argued that the state Constitution should have prevented the passage of the law claiming abortion is a “right” and denying preborn human beings their right to life. But in May, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that fetuses are not people and are therefore not protected by the Constitution.
READ: Article in Harvard Law Journal concludes: The preborn child is a constitutional person
Then, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, the pro-lifers asked the Supreme Court to take the case.
“The Court should grant the writ to finally determine whether a prenatal life, at any gestational age, enjoys consitutional protection — considering the full and comprehensive history and tradition of our Constitution and law supporting personhood for unborn human beings,” the pro-lifers wrote to the Court.
The Court has at this time declined to take up the case.
Rhode Island’s Reproductive Privacy Act says that the state can’t “restrict an individual person from preventing, commencing, continuing, or terminating that individual’s pregnancy prior to fetal viablility” or “interfere with an individual person’s decision to continue that individual’s pregnancy after fetal viability….”
Yet, gestational age does not determine whether a preborn child is a human being; from the moment of fertilization, a new and distinct member of the human species is created. And, as attorney Josh Craddock has explained, “According to the dictionaries of common and legal usage at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s adoption, the term ‘person’ was largely interchangeable with ‘human being.'”
He concluded, “There is no distinction between biological life and legal personhood.”
The Constitution did not intend to exclude preborn babies from its protections. All human beings are persons and human embryos and fetuses are human beings. Therefore, preborn human s are persons and deserving of the full protection of the law.