U.S. Supreme Court rejects fetal personality appeal

Oct 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to decide whether fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights, as its June ruling overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide , temporarily sidestepping another front in the American culture wars.

The justices rejected an appeal by a Catholic group and two women of the lower court ruling against their challenge to a 2019 Rhode Island law that codified abortion rights, in line with Roe’s precedent. The two women were pregnant when the lawsuit was filed, sued on behalf of their fetuses, and later gave birth. The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the fetus lacked proper legal standing to sue.

Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee, a Democrat, welcomed the judge’s action on Tuesday.

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“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear this frivolous appeal. Governor McGee believes we should expand women’s access to reproductive health care,” spokesman Matt Sheff said in a statement, adding that the governor “is committed to To use his veto pen to block any legislation that would set our country back.”

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.

In a June ruling overturning abortion rights precedent, conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the court did not take a decision on “whether and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth.” any position.

Some state-level Republicans have been pushing so-called fetal personality laws, such as a law enacted in Georgia that affects fetuses starting around six weeks into pregnancy, which would grant fetuses the same kinds of legality as anyone before birth. rights and protections.

Under such laws, legal termination of a pregnancy can be considered murder.

Lawyers for Life Catholics and two Rhode Island women — one named Nichole Leigh Rowley, the other using the pseudonym Jane Doe — argued that the case “provides this court with the opportunity to confront this inevitable question head-on. Opportunity” to determine whether a fetus has due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment did not extend rights to the fetus in the now overturned Roe case. Roe’s ruling recognizes that the individual’s right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy.

Old Rhode Island law included a criminal statute prohibiting abortion, predating the Roe ruling. Following the Roe ruling, a federal court declared the Rhode Island law unconstitutional and not in effect when the Democratic-led Legislature enacted the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019.

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who was the state’s governor at the time and is now President Joe Biden’s U.S. commerce secretary, signed the 2019 law that set Roe’s then-current status on abortion rights.

Since the Supreme Court in June against Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Nate Raymond

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on federal justice and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.

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