Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death could trigger a new chapter in U.S. history that guarantees unborn children the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as much as their older counterparts hold.
With her passing, President Trump has prepared to present candidates to take her place. It is rumored that Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are the top contenders, both of whom are devout Catholics.
Barrett is a staunch supporter of pro-life legislation, but it is unknown whether Lagoa shares the same stance. The official statement on abortion from the Vatican states that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." Because of Lagoa’s steadfast devotion to the Catholic Church, it is likely that she shares these beliefs.
Either way, appointing either woman could reverse the Supreme Court's decision of “June Medical Services LLC, et al. v. Stephen Russo,” which challenged the Louisiana law Act 620. The law restricted the number of abortions conducted in the state of Louisiana by requiring abortion providers to get admitting privileges to a hospital with a thirty-mile radius facility.
Five justices – Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Roberts – declared the state law unconstitutional because the act poses “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right.” Right-leaning Justice John Roberts sided with the four justices, citing the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which immunizes U.S. citizens for abridgements to life, liberty and property without due process of law.
In other words, Roberts interprets that the U.S. government cannot impede a woman from obtaining an abortion, as it is her natural right to pursue liberty. His stance led to a simple majority of the Supreme Court voting in favor of protecting the natural rights of all citizens to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Critics complained Act 620 limited access to abortion. To get admitting privileges to an abortion clinic, the doctor requires having a frequent stream of patients visit the hospital. Some pro-choice individuals deem abortion as a safe procedure, with few women ending up in hospital after undergoing the procedure. Enacting the Act of 620 resulted in Louisiana being limited to only one abortion-providing clinic.
Although this Act has saved the lives and the long-running mental health of women, the Supreme Court failed to protect the unborn child’s right to live. That can change with the potential appointment of Lagoa or Barrett before the 2020 presidential election closes. Perhaps the lives of future citizens who might solve the problems we face and suffer from will no longer be at risk and finally treated in a humane manner.