Supreme Court faces Roe decision: 14th Amendment gives reason to overturn

In its next term, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a potentially game-changing abortion rights case out of Mississippi that scholars and legal experts believe could alter or, perhaps, completely overturn the 1973 landmark decision known as Roe v. Wade.

Josh Hammer, a Newsweek opinion editor, pointed to an April edition of First Things — a conservative journal — in which philosopher John Finnis published an essay titled, “Abortion Is Unconstitutional.”

Finnis, alongside Princeton University professor Robert P. George, recently submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court ahead of the upcoming Mississippi abortion ban case, in an attempt to prove that an unborn human is a “person,” citing the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

“According to Finnis, unborn children are properly understood as ‘persons’ under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and state-level homicide laws therefore cannot discriminate by protecting born people but not unborn people,” Hammer wrote.

Hammer added that Finnis’ approach to the legal argument against abortion would not merely return the control of abortion laws to the states, rather, “it would mandate banning the bloody practice nationwide.”

He went on to point out that while there are some conservatives and pro-lifers who disagree with Finnis’ approach to the argument, it would be wise for those critics to embrace it, as it could help persuade “center-right” justices on the high court to vote in favor of overturning Roe and the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

As The Hill reported, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R) is responsible for bringing the state’s hotly contested abortion ban after 15 weeks — the revised “viability” time that a baby can be born and live outside of the mother’s womb — to the Supreme Court. The move came after the state’s ban was shot down in state-level courts.

Because of the high court’s 6–3 conservative majority, pro-abortion activists have expressed fear that the case could trigger a review of Roe, and ultimately could result in the nearly five-decade-old decision being overturned.

A Supreme Court decision on the Mississippi case is expected sometime in 2022, but in the meantime, it will likely continue to draw unprecedented levels of attention as activists and scholars from both sides of the argument do their best to sway the high court’s final outcome.