Texas Courts Ruling Affirms Laws that Grant Fetuses Legal Protections

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled unanimously last week that state laws granting legal protections to fetuses do not conflict with Roe v Wade. The Court rejected an appeal by an inmate who was convicted of two murders for the killing a woman and her 4 to 6-week-old fetus.

The man claimed that his right to due process was violated because he convicted of murder in the death of the fetus, despite the fact that the fetus was not viable. The US Supreme Court had ruled that states do not have a compelling interest to prosecute if the fetus was not viable. However, the Supreme Court also has “emphasized that states may protect human life not only once the fetus has reached viability but ‘from the outset of the pregnancy,'” reports the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.

Judge Sharon Keller, the presiding judge, said that the “compelling state interest” test, along with the “accompanying ‘viability’ threshold, has no application to a statute that prohibits a third party from causing the death” of a fetus against the will of the pregnant woman. Also, the laws in question do include an exemption for women who chose to abort the fetus and the doctors who perform the abortions.


Daily Women�s Health Policy Report 11/17/07; Associated Press 11/23/07

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