Does the 14th amendment prohibit abortion?
gillman at usc.edu
Mon Sep 12 10:21:33 PDT 2005
One more question on the abortion front -- something more directly related to constitutional law.
For those who believe that human life starts at conception, and (thus) that any effort to terminate a pregnancy should be viewed as "murder" (or, collectively, "genocide") -- does it necessarily follow that the Constitution requires states to apply their general murder statutes to the abortion decision (just as, presumably, the Constitution would prohibit states on equal protection grounds from excluding infanticide from murder statutes)? Does the "original public meaning" of the word "person" under the 14th amendment have relevance to this question, or is it more appropriate to focus on the "most correct" understanding of the word "person" (using the same Dworkinian move that leads some to say that the best understanding of the word "equality" must denounce segregation, even if the generation that wrote the 14th amendment didn't view segregation as violative of equality)? Do you take the position that, as a constitutional matter, "abortion should be left to the states to
regulate as they wish" or "the 14th amendment requires the states to treat abortion as equivalent to infanticide"?
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