Should a Pregnant Woman Be Executed?
January-February 1988By John R. Vile
John R. Vile is Professor of Government and Head of the Department of Social Sciences at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Roe v. Wade that it was unable to ascertain whether a fetus is human; the Court decided that a womans right to privacy prevails over any rights of the fetus, at least through the first two trimesters and prior to viability. Accordingly, any rights the fetus has prior to this time are subservient to the rights of the woman carrying the child.
While altering the laws of the land, the Courts decision has failed to convince most abortion foes that the fetus is not a person with certain natural rights. Some have made theological or spiritual arguments; others have relied either primarily or secondarily on biology. Advocates of abortion-on-demand have, for their part, either emphasized the interests of the woman carrying a child or denied that the fetus is entitled to any rights.
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