Supreme Court declines to hear case on whether unborn babies have rights

Months after striking down Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court is declining another brush with abortion controversy.

The high court rebuffed a request Tuesday to consider whether unborn babies have constitutional rights, Reuters reported.

Supreme Court turns away abortion case

The court did not explain its decision to dismiss an appeal from a Catholic group and two Rhode Island women who challenged their state’s pro-abortion law on behalf of their then-unborn babies. The state’s Supreme Court found that unborn babies don’t have legal standing, citing Roe.

The plaintiffs argued that their case gives the Supreme Court a chance to address the “inevitable” question of fetal personhood “head on” in the aftermath of Roe’s repeal.

They also noted that the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe indicates “rejection” of the court’s previous contention in Roe that the “word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.”

The Supreme Court ended Roe in its June decision Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which established that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

But the court did not weigh in on whether unborn babies have constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, as many in the pro-life movement have long argued.

Unanswered questions

Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start,” but he also wrote that the court’s decision to overturn Roe said nothing about “if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth.”

Rhode Island’s Democratic governor Daniel McKee applauded the court for turning down the “frivolous” appeal concerning fetal personhood.

“We’re satisfied that the Supreme Court declined to hear this frivolous appeal. Governor McKee believes that we should be expanding access to reproductive healthcare for women,” McKee said.

The end of Roe has led to the return of abortion restrictions in red states, and Democrats have focused their messaging for the midterm elections on the contentious issue.

A handful of states, like Georgia and Arizona, have pursued or enacted laws recognizing fetal personhood.