The Justice Center currently represents the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Right to Life (MI), and a National Bioethics Center in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Here are some excerpts from our legal brief filed this week in the Supreme Court:
Mississippi Holds a Profound Governmental Interest in the Inherent Value of Life at the Gestational Age of Fifteen to Twenty Weeks
Advancements in science now reveal the humanity of a pre-born child between the gestational ages of fifteen to twenty weeks. Gone are the days where society can question or reimagine how a child in utero looks or if the child is merely a compilation of lifeless cells. Actual video of children in the womb reveal the advanced development of a fetus, especially later in his or her development from sixteen to twenty weeks.
Mississippi’s law is partially based on legislative findings pertaining to the advanced development and humanity of pre-born children at the gestational age of fifteen to twenty weeks. Pet. at 7-9. At twenty two days, the child’s heart begins to beat. https://www.ehd.org/your-life-before-birth-video/ (last visited July 15, 2020). At six weeks, the child begins moving. Id. At seven weeks, scientists can detect a child’s brainwaves, and the child can move his or her head and hands. Id. The child displays leg movements and the startle response. Id. At eight weeks, the child’s brain exhibits complex development. Id. The child begins breathing movements and shows preference for either his or her left or right hand. Id. At nine weeks, the child sucks his or her thumb, swallows, and responds to light touch. Id. At ten weeks, the child’s unique fingerprints are formed on his or her fingers. Id. At twelve weeks, the child opens and closes his or her mouth and moves his or her tongue. Id. The child’s fingers and hands are also fully formed by twelve weeks gestation. Id.; see also https://www.ehd.org/movies/231/Responds-to-Touch (last visited July 15, 2020) (displaying video of fetus at fifteen weeks responding to touch). By sixteen weeks, the child’s gender is easi e, and the child looks undeniably human:
https://www.ehd.org/gallery/436/Hiding-the-Face#content (last visited July 15, 2020) (showing photographic still of sixteen-week ultrasound video of a male fetus hiding his head away from the touch of the ultrasound transducer). By nineteen weeks, the child hears noises and makes facial expressions when listening to music. See, e.g., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC articles/PMC4616906/ (last visited July 15, 2020) (finding that neural pathways participating in the auditory–motor system may be developed as early as the gestational age of sixteen weeks).
The humanity of the pre-born child in the second trimester is more apparent today than when Roe was decided. This Court should grant certiorari to clarify the balance between the right to privacy and personal autonomy with a State’s ability and right to regulate abortion at this later stage of gestational development.