I have been a highly involved pro-life advocate for nearly a decade now, and I also happen to be a lawyer. And yet I didn’t know about this interesting fact until recently. I came across it completely by chance.
So here’s your fun fact of the day: turtles can bring lawsuits.
I’m completely serious (click to enlarge):
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) empowers non-human animals to be plaintiffs in ESA lawsuits. Yes, naturally, ESA suits are brought by environmental lawyers. But those lawyers don’t represent a person, nor do they represent a human-led environmental organization (like the Sierra Club). The animals themselves are the plaintiffs.
I find that fascinating, but not entirely unprecedented. Lawsuits can be brought by many parties who are incapable of understanding the legal system and who require special representation, such as infants and young children, people with severe mental or intellectual disabilities, and people on life support. So why not turtles?
And obviously, since this is a pro-life blog, why not the preborn?
A measure recently passed in Alabama provides representation to preborn babies in judicial bypass proceedings. Judicial bypass is a procedure, mandated by the Supreme Court, which allows a teenager to petition a judge for permission to have an abortion without the knowledge of her parents. The proceeding is a matter of life or death for the preborn child, making the need for representation obvious. The fact that the United States does not currently recognize preborn children as legal persons is irrelevant, because turtles aren’t legal persons either!
Abortion advocates have no good legal argument here, so they’ve resorted to mocking the attorneys appointed to represent the interests of preborn children in Alabama, saying it’s a “crazy-ass job.” But it’s surely no crazier than being a turtle lawyer.
Those who are the least capable of defending themselves are, practically by definition, those who are most deserving of legal representation. The abortion lobby may not like it, but we must continue to speak for the voiceless.