As one of the greatest political battles unfolds on Capitol Hill over Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s successor, the issue of abortion is once again front-and-center in American politics. President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a judge with a long history of conservative leanings while on the bench. Democrats in Congress have demanded that Judge Kavenaugh reveal his stance on the Supreme Court’s decision on the case of Roe v. Wade, which established that abortion is a woman’s right under the Constitution.
Without addressing the morality and ethics surrounding abortion and looking at the issue from a purely legal standpoint, scholars and critics of the ruling have said that there is nothing in the Constitution to suggest that a woman has the right to have an abortion. Pro-abortion advocates cite the 14th Amendment to support their position, which says that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”, claiming that a woman’s liberty and control over their body is violated by any legislation that prohibits abortion.
However, this language is taken completely out of context, as this clause in the 14th Amendment was intended to protect freed slaves in former slave states after the Civil War. If anything, this clause supports the position of pro-life advocates, as it prohibits the deprivation of a person’s “right to life”, which is taken from a viable fetus when an abortion is performed. As Congress debates who should replace Justice Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court, it is important to remember that from a purely legal standpoint, abortion is not a right that is protected under the United States Constitution.
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