Did Alabama Supreme Court deliver a blow to Roe v. Wade?

An Alabama Supreme Court ruling exposes 40 years of hypocrisy in American law resulting from Roe v. Wade. Photo: iStockphoto.com/pixhook

WASHINGTON, DC, January 30, 2013 ― Some pro-lifers think that the Alabama Supreme Court dealt a massive blow to Roe v. Wade by specifically stating that the preborn child is a person (and therefore protected by the 14th Amendment). The Court’s ruling exposes 40 years of hypocrisy and delusions in American law resulting from the most diabolic decree ever issued by an institution of man.

The case involved two women tried for placing their preborn children at risk through the use of illegal drugs during pregnancy. One newborn tested positive for cocaine, the other actually died 19 minutes after birth of “acute methamphetamine intoxication.” Alabama law makes it a crime to endanger a child by exposing him or her to a controlled substance. The defense argued that the chemical endangerment law does not apply to preborn children.

However, the court disagreed, ruling, “The dictionary definition of the term ‘child’ explicitly includes an unborn person or a fetus. In everyday usage, there is nothing extraordinary about using the term ‘child’ to include a viable fetus. For example, it is not uncommon for someone to state that a mother is pregnant with her first ‘child.’” 

By definition, fetus and child are interchangeable. And in Alabama, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18. Thus, since a preborn child is a person, the fetus is protected under the law like all other persons. Alabama attorney general Luther Strange describes the ruling as a “tremendous victory” for the “value of all life.”

Widespread legal recognition

The court said its ruling was “in keeping with the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons” and again exposed the indefensible legal noose that Roe artificially imposes upon our justice system undercutting our Constitution, our liberty, and our lives.

Widespread legal recognition? That’s right. The court showed that across the land a preborn child has rights and is protected under the law. The court’s litany of examples (citations removed) in both civil and criminal law include:

“Seven states specifically provide that the murder of a pregnant woman is an aggravating factor that may justify the imposition of the death penalty. In nine other states, the murder of a pregnant woman and her unborn child can lead to the application of the death penalty under statutes that allow for imposing the death penalty where a defendant murders more than one person in a single incident. And in Florida, a killing that would be capital murder if the pregnant woman died is capital murder if the mother survives but her unborn child dies.”

“Forty states and the District of Columbia permit recovery of damages for the wrongful death of an unborn child when post-viability injuries to that child cause its death before birth.”

“All states—by statute, rule, or precedent—permit a court to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of an unborn child in various matters including estates and trusts.”

“Every state permits competent adults to execute advance directives … however, most states prohibit the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant woman, regardless of her advance directive. Similarly, those states generally prohibit an agent acting under a healthcare power of attorney from authorizing an abortion.”

The court even cited California, the land of the abortion free-for-all: “A child conceived, but not yet born, is deemed an existing person, so far as necessary for the child’s interests in the event of the child’s subsequent birth.” (Cal. Civ. Code § 43.1 (2007))

It seems impossible that so many laws recognize the fetus as having legal rights and yet 1.2 million preborn persons aborted annually are not protected from harm by the 14th Amendment, which clearly states: “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 

As this court said, “The only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe.” In other words, across our land, common sense laws confirm a person is a person is a person – unless Roe is involved.

Compromise on slavery did not end it

In the infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people of African descent were not protected by the Constitution. Slaves were human, but like property, not persons. Sound familiar?

Then, too, we had all sorts of compromises and political accommodations: Some states had slavery, others didn’t. New territories were given the choice. In addition, one could claim to be against slavery but not wish to impose that belief on others. Furthermore, those with a vested interest in slavery poured their riches and influence – and ultimately arms and lives – into defending it.

Civil war led to the 14th Amendment that finally lifted the curse of slavery. Many argue that the aftereffects linger until this day – including an abortion rate that is 300 percent higher in the black community. 

At war with ourselves

Hundreds of civil and criminal laws already recognize the preborn baby as protected but have had no impact on the false premise of a right to legalized abortion. Roe has created a mentally ill law and culture that pretends some “right” of mothers to commit what would be murder under all other circumstances. And that is why I believe this ruling punches no legal holes in Roe.

As Gary Bauer of American Values commented, “While the ruling applies only to Alabama, it is another important pro-life victory that clearly recognizes the humanity of the unborn child.”

Such laws and compromises may serve to limit abortion, but they also extend it. As we were ultimately forced to conclude with slavery, nothing less than a constitutional amendment will rid us of the cancerous evil known as abortion.


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Paul E. Rondeau

Paul E. Rondeau's research and writing on social issures has appeared in law journals, private publications, and  the popular press.  His work has been cited at the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations and by best-selling authors.  He serves as executive director at American Life League.  He can be contacted at prondeau@all.org.

 

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