“A Law repugnant to the Constitution is void.”

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

 In a concurring opinion supporting the Alabama Supreme Court ruling frozen embryos are people, Chief Justice Tom Parker leaned heavily on Christian scripture, “Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God,” and “All human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”

Not only is the decision unprecedented and dangerous but runs counter to the Constitution, the benchmark for judicial rulings dating back to the Court’s 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision defining it as the “supreme law of the land.”

Beyond the constitutional argument, their decision opens a Pandora’s Box of broader implications:

 How can the decision be imposed on people who subscribe to different religious and non-religious beliefs systems as to when human life begins or is viable?

  1. Medical science defines contraception as occurring the moment a sperm enters an egg. As many birth control measures, including the IUD and so-called morning-after pill, occur after that definition of contraception, would their use be considered murder?
  2. If a woman miscarries, would the state be able to investigate whether a risky life style caused the termination of her pregnancy … even if she did not know she was pregnant?
  3. If a fertilized egg is transplanted into a woman and for some reason is naturally expelled could the woman deemed responsible?
  4. Who will be financially responsible for long-term storage of fertilized eggs not inserted into a woman?
  5. What happens if an IVF clinic must close its doors?
  6. If “all life is sacred” as the opinion states, how can this same court justify executing convicted felons, most recently with nitrogen hypoxia?

America is and has always been a pluralistic country, dating back to its creation.  While the founding fathers were religious people, many notables were deists rather than theists in their beliefs.  Fast forward to June 7, 1797, the US Senate unanimously ratified the Treaty of Tripoli which stated in part, “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

 Chief Justice Parker and others, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindi or followers of other faith traditions have a First Amendment right to believe and worship as they wish.  However, under our Constitution, no individual, legislative body or court the right to impose their religious beliefs on others.