Alabama Supreme Court Justice Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Photo Credit: Stephen Pouliot

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld the capital punishment of a man who killed his pregnant wife in 2009, noting that under state law, “the value of the life of an unborn child is no less than the value of the lives of other persons.” In a separate concurring opinion, one of the justices used the ruling as an occasion to call upon the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule its determination in Roe v. Wade that the abortion right supersedes that of the unborn child’s right to life, as they are not recognized legally as people.

“I concur fully with the Court’s rationale that unborn children are persons entitled to the full and equal protection of the law,” wrote Justice Tom Parker in a decision released on Friday. “I write specially to expound upon the principles presented in the main opinion and to note the continued legal anomaly and logical fallacy that is Roe v. Wade.”

“I urge the United States Supreme Court to overrule this increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.”

Parker said that the 1973 ruling is out-of-step with many state criminal laws that recognize the unborn as people. Alabama passed the Brody Act in 2006 after a pregnant woman named Brandy Parker was found shot to death in her vehicle. The law declares that “an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability” is indeed a person for the purposes of murder prosecutions.

It was this Act that the court pointed to in upholding the conviction and death sentence of Jessie Phillips, who shot his pregnant wife Erica, thus ending the lives of not one, but two people.

“In Roe, the United States Supreme Court, without historical or constitutional support, carved out an exception to the rights of unborn children and prohibited states from recognizing an unborn child’s inalienable right to life when that right conflicts with a woman’s ‘right’ to abortion,” Parker noted.

“The judicially created exception of Roe is an aberration to the natural law and the positive and common law of the states. Of the numerous rights recognized in unborn children, an unborn child’s fundamental, inalienable, God-given right to life is the only right the states are prohibited from ensuring for the unborn child; the isolated Roe exception, which is increasingly in conflict with the numerous laws of the states recognizing the rights of unborn children, must be overruled,” he declared.

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As previously reported, in Roe, Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed to the bench by then-President Richard Nixon, wrote on behalf of the majority, “The Constitution does not define ‘person’ in so many words. … [I]n nearly all these instances (where it is cited), the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.”

“All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn,” he continued. “In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”

Parker said that as states continue to create legal protection for children in the womb, it makes Roe further removed from “the legal fabric of America.”

“A ‘right’ created not from the language of the Constitution of the United States, but one abstracted from its supposed ’emanations’ and ‘penumbras,’ the Roe exception stands as an indictment against the United States Supreme Court that ‘our nation ceases to be governed according to the ‘law of the land’ and instead becomes one governed ultimately by ‘the law of the judges,'” he lamented.

“It is my hope and prayer that the United States Supreme Court will take note of the crescendoing chorus of the laws of the states in which unborn children are given full legal protection and allow the states to recognize and defend the inalienable right to life possessed by every unborn child, even when that right must trump the ‘right’ of a woman to obtain an abortion,” Parker declared.

Read Justice Tom Parker’s concurring opinion in Jessie Phillips v. State of Alabama here, beginning on page 149.

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