I just finished reading on Lexis O’Bama’s casenote as a law student, in which he endorses the Illinois Supreme Court’s rejection of any tort claim brought by an unborn child against his or her mother for prenatal injuries. Politico is reporting Cass Sunstein’s claim that it is “modest and balanced.” Yeah, maybe in liberal lawschool land. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12705.html
Of course, there is nothing outrageous in the decision limiting such tort claims–and many of the reasons Obama approvingly cites make sense.
But in the course of his brief discussion of the case, Obama indicates the extreme position later reflected in his opposition to ANY law protecting a born-alive child: namely, that given the supreme importance of a woman’s autonomy and the consequent right to abortion, the unborn child, as such, has no rights that the law does or should recognize.
First, he places “fetal rights” in scare quotes. (Politico does not mention this). He writes: “The case…indicates the dangers such causes of action present to women’s autonomy, and the need for a constitutional framework to constrain future attempts to expand ‘fetal rights.'”
Second, he suggests that any “particular” unborn child may be of little concern to the law: “the state may also have a more compelling interest in ensuring that fetuses carried to term do not suffer from debilitating injuries than it does in ensuring that any particular fetus is born.
Finally, he suggests that a state’s interest in protecting the unborn child is fake. At the end of the note, he explains that more government (surprised?), like “expanded access to prenatal education and health care facilities[,] will far more likely serve the VERY REAL state interest in preventing increasing numbers of children from being born into lives of pain and despair” (capitalizations added).
So for Obama, does the state have any “real” interest in protecting the “fetal rights” of any “particular” unborn child. For Obama, that was a question that he did not consider above his paygrade as a law student. And the answer, like his answer as a state senator, was a resounding “no.”