A new Texas Supreme Court decision validates a Lone Star State law that treats the killing of unborn life–other than in the abortion context–as potentially murder. From the story:
Texas laws allow the killing of a fetus to be prosecuted as murder, regardless of the fetus’ stage of development, but they do not apply to abortions, the state’s highest criminal court has ruled. Wednesday’s ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected an appeal by Terence Lawrence, who said his right to due process was violated because he was prosecuted for two murders for killing a woman and her 4- to 6-week-old fetus. The court ruled unanimously that state laws declaring a fetus an individual with protections do not conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court‘s Roe v. Wade ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion…
The Supreme Court has emphasized that states may protect human life not only once the fetus has reached viability but ‘from the outset of the pregnancy,'” the court said. “The Legislature is free to protect the lives of those whom it considers to be human beings.”
The “fetus” in question was actually an embryo, which is what nascent, developing humans are called from conception through the eighth week. Be that as it may, what this means is that when the personal autonomy right of a woman is not at issue–which is the unique circumstance involved with abortion–federal and state laws are increasingly protecting the intrinsic value of unborn life with the support of the courts. Good. All human life should be deemed worthy of protecting.
This has also been the ethical issue involved in human cloning and ESCR. Hopefully, the new stem cell breakthrough will eventually bring that contentious issue to an end as James Thomson and Ian Wilmut have predicted.