Oct 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to decide whether fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights in light of its June ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide, steering clear for now of another front in America’s culture wars.
The justices turned away an appeal by a Catholic group and two women of a lower court’s ruling holding that fetuses lacked the proper legal standing to challenge a 2019 state law codifying the right to abortion in line with the Roe precedent. The two women, pregnant at the time when the case was first filed, sued on behalf of their fetuses and later gave birth.
Some Republicans at the state level have pursued what are called fetal personhood laws, like one enacted in Georgia affecting fetuses starting at around six weeks of pregnancy, that would grant fetuses before birth a variety of legal rights and protections like those of any person. Under such laws, termination of a pregnancy could be considered murder under the law.
Under state law, pregnant women in the U.S. state of Georgia can deduct their fetuses as dependents on their taxes under a 2019 anti-abortion law that went into effect in August.
The state’s tax agency said that any woman whose fetus has a detectable heartbeat as of July 20, the date of the court ruling, can take a personal tax exemption in the amount of $3,000 for each fetus, if she is carrying more than one.