Because state laws allowing elective abortion necessarily deprive a class of human beings — those at the earliest stages of development — of “the equal protection of the laws,” they violate constitutional rights. Such laws render generally applicable statutes against homicide inapplicable to a disfavored class of persons and expose unborn children to lethal violence.

These are precisely the sort of wrongs that the 14th Amendment was designed to rectify. It equipped Congress to meet this challenge by granting to it, in Section 5, “power to enforce, by appropriate legislation” the amendment’s due process and equal protection guarantees. As the Supreme Court explained in the 1880 case Ex Parte Virginia, whatever legislation is “adapted to carry out . . . the equal protection of the laws against State denial or invasion . . . is brought within the domain of congressional power.”