The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to wade into the so-called fetal personhood debate, deciding not to take up a case from Rhode Island over whether fetuses should have constitutional rights.
A Catholic group and two pregnant women wanted to sue on behalf of the women’s unborn fetuses, but the Rhode Island Supreme Court — citing Roe v. Wade — said in May that they did not have the legal standing to file the suit.
The challengers urged the Supreme Court to step in and take the case after it overturned Roe in June. But the court rejected it without comment.
“This court should grant the writ to finally determine whether prenatal life, regardless of gestational age, enjoys constitutional protection — given the full and extensive history and tradition of our Constitution and law supporting personhood of unborn human beings,” the petitioners wrote in their request for the court to process the case.
The issue of fetal personhood raises complicated questions regarding fetal rights, which may affect issues such as in vitro fertilization and child support in the future.
Since the court overturned Roe earlier this year, conservative states have enforced bans that either limit the procedure or ban it outright.