Alabama judge allows man to sue clinic on behalf of aborted fetus

Arturo Kim
March 9, 2019

A man who sued an abortion pill manufacturer and abortion clinic in Alabama has gained the right to recognise the aborted foetus's legal rights, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

An Alabama county court recognized "Baby Roe" as a legitimate plaintiff in the case, just four months after the state amended its constitution to recognize the personhood and rights of unborn children.

Magers filed a lawsuit in February against the Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives, which the suit says provided his ex-girlfriend with the abortion pill.

According to the suit, plaintiff Ryan Magers' former girlfriend discovered she was pregnant with Baby Roe in early 2017 and made a decision to have the child aborted.

The probate judge's decision appears to be the first major court action after the passage of Alabama's personhood law, which says that it is the policy of the state "to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life".

"We have already had a victory, and it was the first one of its kind, ever", Brent Helms, attorney for Baby Roe's father, Ryan Magers, said, following the decision to grant Magers' request to represent Baby Roe's estate.

Helms petitioned to represent the estate of Baby Roe, which would give the attorney the right to sue under Alabama probate law.

"The only thing that estate has is the right to sue, and so that is what Ryan is doing - is suing on behalf of Baby Roe's estate", Helms said. But according to WHNT, the court papers do not make it clear that "Baby Roe" was an aborted fetus.

Magers has told ABC affiliate WAAY31: "I'm here for the men who actually want to have their baby". He is seeking a jury trial in the case.

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"Even though there's nothing I can do for the situation I was in, there is something I can do for the future situations for other people", Magers said.

After the news broke, many argued that the court is giving more rights to unborn fetuses and men who impregnate women than the women themselves. "By declaring the aborted embryo (she was just 6 wks pregnant) a person with legal rights", Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object, wrote on Twitter.

"This case also highlights the rights of a father, because a father should generally share some parental rights with a mother when children are concerned", Klukowski observed.

Mr Helms believes the case could make it to the Supreme Court.

Finally, the law frees the state of Alabama from being required to secure the right or funds required to attain an abortion.

But the case has alarmed pro-choice activists.

Alabama voters approved an amendment a year ago declaring "the importance of unborn life".

The clinic must respond to Magers' wrongful death suit on or before April 1.

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