MOTHER TERESA'S lawyers."
It sounds like the punch line for another joke about the legal
trade. But there they were, large as life on a sunny afternoon this
week, standing outside the Supreme Court. They were there to
publicize their client's filing of a brief in a case that abortion
opponents want the justices to consider.
"Mother Teresa is more profound than we often recognize," said
her lead counsel, Robert George. "She casts a moral light on
situations. . . . She's someone who can see wrong and knows wrong
when she sees it." So, like anyone else, she decided to get a
The case began in Morristown, N.J., when Alexander Loce learned
his fiancee was going to have an abortion. His decision to try to
stop it is what led Mother Teresa (or her lawyers) to the steps of
the nation's highest court. Whether they'll get in the door is
Loce tried to get a court order to prevent his fiancee from
having the abortion, but failed. Then, on the day she went to the
clinic, Loce and a group of anti-abortion supporters went, too.
They bound themselves with handcuffs and bicycle locks to block the
entrance to the operating rooms. They were arrested and charged
with trespassing. The doctors performed the abortion.
At his trial, Loce's lawyers presented evidence on when human
life begins, arguing that because the fetus was a person, Loce had
a right to prevent the abortion. A municipal judge found that the
fetus was a person, but said that didn't justify Loce's attempt to
infringe on his fiancee's constitutionally protected right to an
abortion. The judge convicted Loce and the other defendants guilty
of "defiant trespass," a petty offense. They were fined from $30
to $250, and appealed.
The New Jersey appeals court declined to rule on the
when-life-begins question, noting that the right to an abortion was
reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as 1992. The state
supreme court declined to review the case, setting up Loce's plea
When it recognized the constitutional right to an abortion in
1973, the Supreme Court specifically refused to decide when life
"When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine,
philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the
judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is
not in a position to speculate as to the answer," wrote Justice
Harry Blackmun. …