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Home Law Personhood in the 14th Amendment
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Preface

The featured article in this edition of Issues in Law & Medicine is the thesis of professor Charles I. Lugosi, which was submitted and defended as part of the requirements for his Doctorate in Juridical Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

In it, he applies the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution to the issue of abortion. The Fourteenth Amendment was intended to protect people from discrimination by the states. But racism is not the only thing people need protection from. As a constitutional principle, Dr. Lugosi reasons that the Fourteenth Amendment is not confined to its historical origin and purpose, but is available to protect all human beings, including all unborn human beings. The Supreme Court can defi ne “person” to include all human beings, born and unborn. It simply has chosen not to do so.

Dr. Lugosi argues that science, history and tradition establish that unborn humans are, from the time of conception, both persons and human beings, thus strongly supporting an interpretation that the unborn meet the definition of “person” under the Fourteenth Amendment. The legal test used to extend constitutional personhood to corporations, which are artifi cial “persons” under the law, is more than met by the unborn, demonstrating that the  unborn deserve the status of constitutional personhood.

He concludes that there can be no “rule of law” if the Constitution continues to be interpreted to perpetuate a discriminatory legal system of separate and unequal for unborn human beings. Relying on the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court may overrule Roe v. Wade solely on the grounds of equal protection. Such a result would not return the matter of abortion to the states. The Fourteenth Amendment, properly interpreted and applied to unborn human beings, would thereafter prohibit abortion in every state.

— James Bopp, Jr., J.D.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

                Full Article PDF                 Shorter Georgetown Abstract PDF