The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to get involved in the ongoing debate about what rights a man has in cases where his wife or girlfriend wants to have an abortion. Without comment, the justices refused to review two separate cases involving men who attempted to stop their estranged wives from getting abortions.
In a case from Indiana, the Court decided not to review an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in favor of the wife’s right to abortion. The case arose last June when Erin Conn attempted to stop his estranged wife from getting the abortion. A state judge temporarily blocked the abortion, but an appeals court and the Indiana Supreme Court cleared the way for the abortion.
Conn continued with the case, asking for “judicial consideration” that a husband’s “right to procreation” be balanced against a wife’s rights. Conn argued that neither the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision nor any of the subsequent abortion rulings prevents a judge from considering a father’s rights on a case-by-case basis.
Mrs. Conn argued that nothing in the Constitution gave her estranged husband the right to force her “to submit to what amounts to compulsory pregnancy and forced childbirth.”
Guardian For The Fetus?
The second case, from Michigan, involved a couple in the process of divorce. State courts originally ordered Shawn Lewis not to obtain an abortion and appointed a guardian for the fetus. However, state appeals courts overturned the decisions, and she had the abortion.
Nonetheless, Carlton Lewis and the guardian for the fetus asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a number of legal issues including fathers’ rights, the extent to which courts can be involved in the abortion decision, and the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.
According to prolife attorney James Bopp, 16 “father’s rights” cases have been filed since March. Bopp said the Conn and Lewis cases were among five currently under appeal in various states.
Meanwhile, the Court has heard arguments in another father’s rights case that looks at whether an unwed father can claim custody of the child.
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