Pro-Life Group Blasts Judge For Recognizing Hippos As ‘Persons’ While Unborn Babies Remain Without Rights

A renowned pro-life group blasted United States District Court Cincinnati Judge Karen Litkovitz for recognizing hippos as “persons” while unborn babies inside their mothers’ wombs still do not have rights.

The Christian Headlines reported that pro-life group Live Action criticized the decision made by Litkovitz in October 15 recognizing hippopotamuses owned by the late cocaine magnate Pablo Escobar of Columbia as “juridical persons” or “interested persons” needed in a lawsuit filed by San Francisco-based The Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The declaration would give the hippos legal rights in the United States. As such, the pro-life organization pointed out that unlike the hippos, the unborn are not given legal rights in the U.S. where abortion is “most extreme.”

“By recognizing the juridic personhood of foreign animals, Judge Litkovitz has granted what has long been denied to preborn babies in the womb in the United States. For nearly five decades in the U.S., the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision has been used by federal courts to deny legal personhood to preborn babies in the name of a so-called constitutional right to abortion–a right that does not and should not exist, let alone trump the right of preborn human babies to live,” Live Action said in their website.

“Sadly, preborn humans are not granted the same legal status as Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos in U.S. federal court. As Live Action News has pointed out, the U.S. has among of the most extreme pro-abortion legal regimes in the world. It is only one of seven countries, along with North Korea and China, to allow elective abortion past 20 weeks’ gestation,” they added.

According to CBS News, the Columbian government was sued over its decision to exterminate or sterilize hippos since they were becoming a biodiversity threat due to their fast growth rate. The animals are said to be so many they are seen freely roaming in villages, which scientists say pose a danger to humans. The Columbian government has initiated sterilization but there is a debate on which is safest.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund requested the U.S. District Court to make the declaration so that two Ohio-based wildlife sterilization experts could be deposed in the case there.

Lawyers for the Animal Legal Defense Fund raised in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. federal court raised that the hippos should be considered as “interested persons” since the organization is advocating for the animals. The lawyers cited a federal statute involving a foreign lawsuit that recognizes “interested persons” the permission to “take depositions in support of their case.”

Litkovitz’ decision is a first for the United States, unlike in Argentina, India, and Pakistan. Animal Legal Defense Fund Lead Attorney Christopher Berry called it a “profound ruling” and appreciated Litkovitz for doing so in an interview with CBS News.

“This really is part of a bigger movement of advocating that animals’ interest be represented in court. We’re not asking to make up a new law. We’re just asking that animals have the ability to enforce the rights that have already been given to them,” Berry said.