A Troubling Court Decision for Reproductive Rights: Legal Recognition of Fetal Standing to Sue

JAMA. Published online May 22, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7809

San Diego Legal Studies Paper

Posted: 24 Jun 2019

See all articles by Dov Fox

Dov Fox

University of San Diego: School of Law

Eli Y Adashi

Brown University Medical School

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Abortion remains one of the most divisive controversies in the United States, and few states restrict the practice more than Alabama. In 2018, Alabama voters passed an amendment to the state’s constitution that “recognize[s] and support[s] the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.” Kansas, Missouri, and Louisiana have enacted similar language into their constitutions. These clauses variously classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as “persons” entitled to unspecified legal protections from the moment of conception. They have the potential for sweeping consequences. It is unclear whether and how these measures would lead to criminal penalties against pregnant women for activities like drug use that risk harming the fetus, as well as prohibitions on in vitro fertilization (IVF), stem cell research, or other practices that involve the destruction of human embryos.

Keywords: abortion, reproductive rights, fetal standing, legal fetal standing

Suggested Citation

Fox, Dov and Adashi, Eli Y and Cohen, I. Glenn, A Troubling Court Decision for Reproductive Rights: Legal Recognition of Fetal Standing to Sue (2019). JAMA. Published online May 22, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7809 ; San Diego Legal Studies Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3409437

Dov Fox (Contact Author)

University of San Diego: School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States
(619) 260-4600 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sandiego.edu/law/about/directory/biography.php?profile_id=3332

Eli Y Adashi

Brown University Medical School ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Griswold Hall 503
Cambridge, 02138
United States

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