Brief Amicus Curiae of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in Support of Petitioners' Petitions for a Writ of Certiorari

Article excerpt

[We reprint here the complete text of the amicus curiae brief filed by Mother Teresa of Calcutta with the U.S. Supreme Court on February 14, 1994. The original title page is reproduced below.]

IN THE Supreme Court of the United States OCTOBER TERM, 1993

ALEXANDER LOCE,

Petitioner,

- against

THE STATE oF NEw JERSEY, Respondent.

TINA KRAIL, ET ALs.,

Petitioners,

- against

THE STATE oF NEw JERsEY,

Respondent.

INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE

Mother Teresa resides at 54 1A Ach. Jagdish, Ch. Bose Rd., Calcutta, India 700 016. She is the founder and mother superior of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. The order maintains its headquarters in Calcutta, India. The Missionaries of Charity have provided services to the needy in many parts of the world, including the United States of America, where the order's main office is located at 335 East 145th Street in the Bronx, New York. Much of the work of the Missionaries of Charity involves providing charitable services to children and to poor families. Through this work Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity have a special interest in the welfare of all children, born and unborn, and the familial relationship between children and their mothers and fathers.

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

The unborn child possesses an inalienable right to life which must be recognized and safeguarded by any just society.

ARGUMENT

1. THE QUESTION WHETHER UNBORN HUMAN BEINGS POSSESS THE INALIENABLE RIGHT TO LIFE IS OF THE GREATEST IMPORTANCE AND MUST NOT BE AVOIDED BY THE COURT.

I hope you will count it no presumption that I seek your leave to address you on behalf of the unborn child. Like that child I can be called an outsider. I am not an American citizen. My parents were Albanian. I was born before the First World War in a part of what was not yet, and is no longer, Yuglosavia. In many senses I know what it is like to be without a country. I also know what it is like to feel an adopted citizen of other lands. When I was still a girl I travelled to India. I found my work among the poor and sick of that nation, and I have lived there ever since.

Since 1950 I have worked with my many sisters from around the world as one of the Missionaries of Charity. Our congregation now has over 400 foundations in more than 100 countries, including the United States of America. We have almost 5,000 sisters. We care for those who are often treated as outsiders in their own communities by their own neighbors-the starving, the crippled, the impoverished, and the diseased, from the old woman with a brain tumor in Calcutta to the young man with AIDS in New York City. A special focus of our care are mothers and their children. This includes mothers who feel pressured to sacrifice their unborn children by want, neglect, despair, and philosophies and governmental policies which promote the dehumanization of inconvenient human life. And it includes the.children themselves, innocent and utterly defenseless, who are at the mercy of those who would deny their humanity. So, in a sense, my sisters and those we serve are all outsiders together. At the same time, we are supremely conscious of the common bonds of humanity that unite us and transcend national boundaries.

In another sense no one in the world who prizes liberty and human rights can feel anything but a strong kinship with America. Yours is the one great nation in all of history which was founded on the precept of equal rights and respect for all humankind, for the poorest and weakest of us as well as the richest and strongest. As your Declaration of Independence put it in words which have never lost their power to stir the heart:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . …