Louisiana Case in United States Supreme Court Could Sync Abortion Laws with Science
“Louisiana law explicitly acknowledges that each human’s life begins at conception, and this position is backed up by science,” said Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel.
Roe v. Wade is “obsolete” according to an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed with the United States Supreme Court by the Thomas More Society on behalf of Illinois Right to Life on January 8, 2020. As the high court prepares to review a challenge to Louisiana’s abortion regulations, the Illinois not-for-profit education and advocacy organization is interceding on behalf of the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Dr. Steve Jacobs, Program Director of Illinois Right to Life, explained why the life advocacy and education organization is stepping into the Louisiana abortion case.
“Roe v. Wade is out of touch with the realities of today,” stated Jacobs. “Contemporary science renders its assumptions obsolete. An overwhelming majority of Americans do not want unrestricted abortion on demand. Unregulated abortion puts women at risk, and we believe that a disregard for women’s lives and safety contradicts all the progress that women have made in modern society, essentially devaluing the female sex.”
The brief highlights how, 47 years after Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision is out of step with modern science, noting that Roe’s“viability” standard was based on a lack of scientific consensus as to when human life begins. Almost a half century later:
- Scientific, legal, and social developments have robbed Roe’s “viability” standard of its original justification.
- A consensus of biologists (96%) now acknowledges that a human life begins at fertilization and a human fetus is, biologically speaking, a human being.
- Even abortion doctors and proponents of abortion rights commonly admit that fetuses are human beings.
- Views opposing the position that the biological view recognizes that a human’s life starts at fertilization are typically unscientific and ideological.
Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel, remarked that once you bring Roe in line with science, the law must follow.
“Louisiana law explicitly acknowledges that each human’s life begins at conception, and this position is backed up by science,” Olp asserted. “Because a human fetus is a human being, it warrants reasonable protection as a person under the Fourteenth Amendment. The U.S. Constitution guarantees Louisiana, and all states, the right to protect its citizens regardless of their stage of development.”
The brief also notes that the enactment of fetal homicide laws by 38 states demonstrates that outside of the abortion context, a human fetus is widely and unquestioningly recognized as a human being, and that these states increasingly propose and enact protective laws even when abortion access is curtailed as a result.
The Louisiana law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The requirement was upheld last year by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court granted a temporary stay in the case, blocking the law from taking effect. In October 2019, the high court announced that it would hear the case.
Read the Thomas More Society’s filing on behalf of Illinois Right to Life, Brief of Amicus Curiae Illinois Right to Life Supporting Respondent-Cross-Petitioner, filed January 8, 2020, with the United States Supreme Court in June Medical Services L.L.C., et al. v. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, here.