“Virtually every state defines a brain death as death,” Sotomayor, appointed by former President Barack Obama, said during oral arguments in a potential landmark abortion rights case Wednesday, as the state of Mississippi defended an abortion restriction law that directly challenges Roe v. Wade.
“Yet, the literature is filled with episodes of people who are completely and utterly brain dead responding to stimuli,” Sotomayor continued. “There’s about 40 percent of dead people who, if you touch their feet, the foot will recoil. There are spontaneous acts by dead brain people. So I don’t think that a response to — by a fetus necessarily proves that there’s a sensation of pain or that there’s consciousness.”