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A viable unborn child has the right under the U.S. Constitution to the protection of the State through statutes prohibiting the arbitrary termination of the life of an unborn fetus.
Defendant mother was in the thirty-ninth week of pregnancy. In the past few weeks, she has presented herself to Griffin Spalding County Hospital for pre-natal care. The examining physician has found and defendant has been advised that she has a complete placenta previa, such that the unborn child would not survive a vaginal delivery. The examining physician was of the opinion that a delivery by caesarean section prior to labor beginning would have an almost 100% chance of preserving the life of the child, along with that of defendant. The mother and father opposed the surgical delivery of the child on the basis of their religious beliefs. The Hospital sought the authority of the court to administer medical treatment to defendant to save the life of herself and her unborn child. The trial courts authorized the Hospital to perform the caesarian section. The parents filed a motion to stay the orders of the courts.
Did the unborn child have any legal right to the protection of the court?
The court denied the parents’ motion for a stay of the orders of the trial courts. Noting that to abort the child would be a criminal offense under O.C.G.A. §§ 26-1201, 26-1202 and that the viable unborn child had rights under the U.S. Constitution to the protection of the State through such statutes prohibiting the arbitrary termination of the life of an unborn fetus, the court held that the unborn child was entitled to their protection. Thus, the trial courts awarded the State temporary custody of the unborn child and ordered the mother to submit to the caesarian section as necessary to sustain the life of the child.