14th Amendment

The political posts on facebook keep coming. I noticed this week that a few haters of a certain politician were going bananas on her comment regarding the rights of the unborn. For people in my country, the matter in question is covered by the US Constitution, Amendment #14, section 1. It reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United 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 far as I understand it, this is the essence of how a mostly-GOP nominated Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade in 1973. One must be born in the US (or naturalized) to be a citizen and to enjoy the freedoms listed above and equal protection. Is that a problem? I guess we have to blame the Republicans again–they controlled Congress when this amendment was passed and sent to the states for approval.

As far as I understand it, this is why some pro-lifers have recognized that a constitutional amendment is needed to outlaw abortion, and why repeated challenges to state abortion laws are dashed on the existing amendment.

Two or three people on fb remarked that a person was evil for certain comments against the unborn. This is false. Such comments might reveal a naïve hopefulness about law. Or just plain mean-spiritedness wrapped in pro-life clothing. Either way, I don’t have any real hope it will stop.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to 14th Amendment

  1. AL says:

    That is incorrect. The Due Process and Equal Protection clauses apply to “any person.” They apply to non-citizens including illegal immigrants. Roe v. Wade had nothing to do with citizenship. It was based on Due Process. I.e., that the woman had a right to an abortion that could not be deprived without due process of law. It’s widely acknowledged that the Court simply invented the right without precedent. Having said that, interpreting “any person” to include the unborn would be novel and unprecedented itself.

    • Todd says:

      Pseudonymous comments are not rejected here, but I generally view it to be superior to self-identify with a real name. That said, if your experience is in law, then I welcome your correction. I must point out though that the Constitution doesn’t mention the unborn or abortion, so the observation “without precedent” rather goes without saying.

      • Liam says:

        Including the late Justice Scalia, all of the anti-Roe justices of the SCOTUS are constitutional positivists when it comes to the constitutional personhood of the fetus: not a one of them, so far as I can tell, has indicated they’d be willing to interpolate such personhood into the constitutional text by virtue of natural law.

  2. Dick Martin says:

    Jeremiah 1:5(NKJV)
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” I guess everyone argues against the word of God.

    • Todd says:

      Even Jeremiah argued: “I’m too young.”

      That said, as a man of God, I find little interest in using law to define personhood. The reality is that, in the US, all are free to be as persuasive as we can be to urge in favor of life. Too bad we haven’t used that freedom to the best effect, eh?

  3. Dick Martin says:

    If you believe what God says about when Life begins it’s the highest place to find truth. If you would believe God’s word in my prior quote of His word about Old Testament being Obsolete it would motivate you to seek why it is obsolete. We are not under the Moses law ( the law of death) but under the dispensation of GRACE.
    1 Timothy 1:9-10(NKJV)
    knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, The New Testament is for born again believers; he only ones that can enter Heaven.

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