Photo edit of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly with a Planned Parenthood building and the 13th Amendment. © Alexander J. Williams III
Photo edit of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly with a Planned Parenthood building and the 13th Amendment. © Alexander J. Williams III
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who was appointed by then-President, Bill Clinton, says abortion may be protected under the 13th Amendment, which was originally meant to ban slavery throughout the United States following the Civil War.

D.C. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly argued that the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in 1865, has been argued by some to protect a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. Judge Kollar-Kotelly decided to look into the matter, requesting lawyers to file a briefing on if the 13th Amendment could potentially be stretched into maintaining the abortion standards of Roe V. Wade.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote:

“Defendant relies on the Supreme Court’s statement in Dobbs that ‘the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.’ Over the past several months since its pronouncement, this statement is often read as the Court’s holding, i.e., that the Supreme Court held that no provision of the Constitution extends any right to reproductive health services,” adding, “For its part, and without the benefit of a fuller briefing, the Court is uncertain that this is the case.”

This argument is based on the idea that the 13th Amendment guarantees individuals the right to control their own bodies and to make decisions about their own lives, free from government interference or coercion. However, it’s of course a far stretch between arguing abortion policies and the enslavement of Black people throughout the United States, and these two issues have nearly nothing in common.

While those who argue that the 13th Amendment protects abortion rights argue that forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will is a form of forced labor, as it compels her to use her body to perform a specific task without her consent, others view the problem of “consent” in the ability to consent to sexual activity, therefor being a rational adult and understand the possibility in pregnancy in engaging with sexual activity.

While Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is looking into this matter, she is also currently hearing a case against 10 pro-life activists charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which is a federal crime if someone uses force or threatening language to obstruct someone’s ability to enter an abortion facility.

In the non-universally accepted view of associating the 13th Amendment with potentially protecting women’s ability to seek an abortion, denying a woman the right to obtain an abortion would be equivalent to enslaving her, as she is being forced to carry out a task against her will, which is, of course, viewed by many as not only completely ridiculous, but also offensive to those who were actually enslaved in our countries past.


  1. Some people just aren’t qualified to be federal judges. This particular judge should no be allowed to go outside to play.

  2. Taking the argument to its logical conclusion, the very concept of negligence should be removed from law. Imposing a duty to do ANYTHING would be a form of slavery.

  3. One can obtain an abortion anytime they want, in any state where it is legal….However, one must pay for the procedure themself as taxpayers are no longer responsible….

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