Originally published May 19 2014
Alabama Supreme Court: 'an unborn child has an inalienable right to life'
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The Alabama Supreme Court has affirmed in an 8-1 ruling that, in a case about a pregnant woman who used cocaine and thus endangered her unborn child, the world child in state law includes "an unborn child," which therefore "furthers the State's interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development."
According to a report by CNS News, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore wrote in his concurring opinion that "an unborn child has an inalienable right to life from its earliest stages of development," adding: "I write separately to emphasize that the inalienable right to life is a gift of God that civil government must secure for all persons - born and unborn."
The April 18 decision was in reference to the case Sarah Janie Hicks v. State of Alabama. The plaintiff was charged in 2009 with violating the state's chemical-endangerment statute, which says, in part, that someone "commits the crime of chemical endangerment" when they "knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia." The crime is a felony.
'Child' is the same as 'unborn child'
As reported by CNS News:
In Hicks' case, she was charged with using cocaine while pregnant. Her child, "J.D.," tested positive for cocaine "at the time of his birth," reads the court document.
In January 2010, Hicks pleaded guilty to the crime but also "reserved the right to appeal the issues" she and her attorneys had presented earlier in trying to get the charges dismissed. Hicks got a three year suspended prison sentence and was placed on probation.
Hicks appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Alabama, arguing that because the chemical-endangerment statute did not specifically use the words "unborn children" or "fetuses," the law was ambiguous and could not have applied to her unborn child.
The appeals court sided with the lower court in ruling against Hicks, stating that "the plain language of 26-15-3.2 [chemical-endangerment statute] was clear and unambiguous and that the plain meaning of the term 'child' in [the statute] included an unborn child or viable fetus.'"
Hicks appealed her case to the state Supreme Court in 2012, asking justices to review the lower court's decision. The high court reaffirmed the appeals court ruling in late April.
"Consistent with this Court's opinion in Ankrom [a similar chemical-endangerment case], by its plain meaning, the word 'child' in the chemical-endangerment statute includes an unborn child, and, therefore, the statute furthers the State's interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development," eight of the court's nine justices wrote.
'There is a higher law'
The justices said that the law protecting the life of unborn children "is consistent with many statutes and decisions throughout our nation that recognize unborn children as persons with legally enforceable rights in many areas of the law."
In his separate, concurring opinion, Moore said that natural rights come from God, not from the government and cited the Declaration of Independence in noting that there is a "self-evident" truth that "all Men are created equal, [and] that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights," and in particular "life."
Moore also cited Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, which state, in part, "This law of nature, being co-eval [beginning at the same time] with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this."
Moore also referenced the Nuremburg Trials following World War II, in which Nazi war criminals were tried. He said they were unable to successfully argue that they had carried out the mass murder of Jews and other prisoners of war because they were merely following orders from the Nazi government. Moore said they could not make that argument, because there is a higher law, the "very law of nature."
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