A lawsuit to the United States Supreme Court is being brought by two pregnant people in Rhode Island, on behalf of their unborn children. Will it be considered?
The pliaintiffs wish the Court to define personhood.
“Personhood” is an opinion: that a fetus, embryo or blastocyst (fertilized human egg) must be treated as a person — with full rights and protections under law.
Briefly, the plaintiffs (below) applied to the Rhode Island Supreme Court and were denied, apparently on the basis of Roe v. Wade protections; therefore, since Roe v. Wade no longer applies, they are now applying to the U. S. Supreme Court.
“Catholics for Life and two pregnant people filing on behalf of their fetuses are asking the Court to reevaluate who… is covered under the 14th Amendment. Their petition (asks if) fetuses are entitled to due process and equal protection….” (1)
From the petition: “Do unborn human beings… have any rights under the United States Constitution? …No state court or legislature can answer this question. Only this court can — — as the final arbiter of what the United States Constitution means.”
The lawsuit is titled: “№22: JANE DOE, as parent and next friend of BABY MARY DOE, NICOLE LEIGH ROWLEY, as parent and next friend of BABY ROE, and CATHOLICS FOR LIFE, INC., d/b/a SERVANTS OF CHRIST FOR LIFE, Petitioners.
DANIEL MCKEE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, et al, Respondents.
This is, of course, expensive nonsense. A fertilized egg (a blastocyst) is not a person: not yet. Essentially liquid, if it is shed in the woman’s natural cycle, no one mourns; there are no funerals for tampons.
When does the microscopic dot become a baby? That is open to discussion; perhaps at birth (36 weeks) or viability (20–24 weeks, according to Roe v. Wade) but how about one minute of age — or one second?
For some, that is the personhood opinion: “Life begins at conception”, they often say, the instant when sperm meets egg and becomes a blastocyst. They want that time of joining established as the official (and legal) beginning of life.
Are they right? A blastocyst — at that stage — is living tissue, not a life.
Prove it for yourself. First, think about sex: not the fun parts, but the mechanics. Sperm… plus egg… plus implantation in the womb… equals an infant, right?
But what if we leave out the implantation part? Can you have a baby without involving the womb? Of course not. An egg can be fertilized in a dish of salt water (as in the IVF procedure) and that is not a baby, is it? You can leave it there as long as you want, and you will never have a person. Never.
But if we write the personhood opinion into law, saying a fertilized egg must be treated as a person, some very real side effects may follow: like bans on birth control pills, over-regulation (or criminalization) of the IVF procedure, and the limiting of advanced stem cell research.
One key point from the 46-page proposal. (2)
“…(The plaintiffs) want the high court to rule that fetuses are entitled to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Such a ruling establishing “fetal personhood would … ban abortions nationwide, (instead of) leaving the issue to the states.” (3)
There is also the question of the blastocysts. Does legally protected life “begin at conception”: the joining of sperm and egg — the blastocyst?
Birth control pills: prohibited — because they “kill” blastocysts;
The In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process: illegal — it discards unused blastocysts;
Advanced stem cell research: banned — it uses discarded blastocysts.
Birth control pills to regulate birthing decisions, the IVF procedure which helps start families, stem cell research to bring on the fight against chronic disease —
Why would anyone want to block such useful things?
1. https://www.courthousenews.com/with-roe-out-the-door-the-next-big-abortion-battle-is-already-on-the-supreme-court-steps/ [courthousenews.com]
2. https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/catholics-v-ri-scotus-petition.pdf [courthousenews.com]
3. https://jacobin.com/2022/09/rhode-island-scotus-abortion-ban [jacobin.com]