Federal judge suggests Constitution may still protect abortion, demands lawyers file briefs

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery and makes no direct mention of abortion.

Published: February 6, 2023 8:00pm

Updated: February 6, 2023 8:12pm

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly informed lawyers on Monday that they must file briefs addressing any potential right to abortion that the Constitution might convey in its 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

The case at hand stems from criminal charges against pro-life activists who have moved to dismiss the charges in light of the Dobbs v. Jackson court ruling last year that overturned the constitutional right to abortion, the Washington Times reported.

Though the Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion precedent set in 1973's Roe v. Wade decision last year, Kollar-Kotelly asserted that the ruling only addressed one argument for the right's existence.

Specifically, she denies that the ruling "held that no provision of the Constitution extends any right to reproductive health services."

"It is entirely possible that the Court might have held in Dobbs that some other provision of the Constitution provided a right to access reproductive services had that issue been raised," she said. "Of those provisions that might contain some right to access to such services, the Thirteenth Amendment has received substantial attention among scholars."

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery and makes no direct mention of abortion.

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction," reads Section One.

"Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation," reads Section Two.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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