The Family Foundation Joins Legal Brief In Support of Iowa Heartbeat Law

The Family Foundation, along with over 30 allied family policy councils, filed a “friend-of-the-court” legal brief this week with the Iowa Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Reynolds, urging the court to allow Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law to take effect.

The brief argues that a child in the mother’s womb is a person under the Fourteenth Amendment entitled to equal protection of the laws. The Amendment guarantees to every “person” equal protection of state laws prohibiting the intentional killing of one person by another.

The brief highlights several main arguments:

  1. The text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment shows that the word “life” therein refers to “natural persons” and that requires that the unborn, as natural persons, be treated as “any person” in the Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

  2. The reversal of Roe requires that a necessary predicate for its abortion right, namely, that the unborn are not persons under the Fourteenth Amendment, be abandoned, and its denial affirmed.

  3. A constitutionally mandated standard of statutory review that treats the life of unborn persons as a “subordinate and inferior class of beings” compared to the standard applied to other persons violates the Fourteenth Amendment and imposes on Iowa’s Constitution the stain on human life that characterized Dred Scott v. Sandford.

In summary the brief concludes:

“The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause is predicated on life—human life—being a fundamental right, and the Equal Protection Clause prevents the human life of any person from being treated as inferior and subordinate to that of any person under the law, even if it respects only the standard of judicial review applicable laws designed to protect human life. Such state constitutional right or standard of review relative to physicians who perform abortion does what the Fourteenth Amendment forbids: treats some human life an inferior and insubordinate to that of others when human life is in the hands of a physician.”

Read the full brief here.


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