Legislation / Court Cases

Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court Recognizes Unborn Human Being to Be a “Child” in a Case Unrelated to Abortion

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous per curiam opinion  [http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-10537.pdf ]

in the Porter v. McCollum case, in favor of the habeas petition filed by a death-row inmate.

Specifically, the Court ruled that the inmate was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel when his counsel failed to discover significant mitigating evidence and to present that evidence at the sentencing phase of his trial.

By e-mail, Walter Weber of the American Center for Law and Justice highlights an interesting phrase in the Court’s opinion:

In the course of relating the criminal convict’s troubled childhood, the unanimous Court states, “Porter routinely witnessed his father beat his mother, one time so severely that she had to go to the hospital and lost a child.” Slip op. at 4.

The unmistakable reference is to a miscarriage. The stage of gestation is not mentioned.

Outside the abortion context, every Justice knows that a pregnant woman carries “a child.”
I’ve added the italics. [Ed Whelan]

[3Dec09, National Review Online, http://bench.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MzU4OWEzZjZhZDgwMDAyNTk3YzI3ZGM1YjZhNmJkMDU ]