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Post by: Konstantin Oshchepkov
For the second part of my summer internship, I am clerking with Tom Parker, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. In his chambers, I intern with a group of staff attorneys working on cases dealing with the rule of law, including those involving the protection of children. Chief Justice Parker has issued many judicial opinions regarding protection of unborn children under existing jurisprudence, explaining that unborn children are recognized and protected as persons in various aspects of law, and concluding that Roe v. Wade is inconsistent with these protections.
In his opinions, Chief Justice Parker has listed existing statutes in many states that already recognize fetuses as persons with legally-enforceable rights. For example, states already have laws that give inheritance rights to unborn children, laws that ban pregnant inmates from being executed, laws that give fetuses legal guardians for the purposes of protecting their interests, and laws that allow parents to sue for damages if fetuses are injured or killed as the result of negligence or some other wrongful act. In one of his opinions, Chief Justice Parker wrote, “Today, 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.”
Step by step, as a case dealing with unborn children has come to the Alabama Supreme Court, Chief Justice Parker has taken the opportunity to add his special concurring opinion, pointing out the logical fallacy of treating the unborn children as a distinct person in some respects and yet denying them full personhood when it comes to abortion. All this work is directed at building the legal foundation for the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize the logical inconsistency and overturn Roe. (In Ex parte Phillips, Chief Justice Parker overtly called on SCOTUS to do just that.)
Pro-abortion advocates are, not surprisingly, deeply worried about the legal arguments that Chief Justice Parker’s opinions might provide to the U.S. Supreme Court because his opinions point out all the ways the law already treats unborn children as a person; meanwhile, the pro-abortion argument against personhood hinges entirely on the women’s perception of what constitutes a person. It is easy to see why the U.S. Supreme Court may struggle to reconcile the two views.
This post was written by Konstantin Oschepkov, an intern with the Center for Global Justice. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.