Alabama court recognizes aborted baby as legal person, lets wrongful death suit proceed
MADISON COUNTY, Alabama, March 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Personhood Alabama and a father whose baby was aborted against his will won a legal victory Tuesday with a probate judge formally recognizing Ryan Magers’ child as a legal person, allowing his case against the abortion center responsible to proceed.
Last month, Magers filed a suit against the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (AWC) abortion facility, seeking damages for the 2017 abortion of his and his girlfriend’s six-week-old child, dubbed Baby Roe. The suit is targeting AWC, three unnamed workers associated with it, and the pharmaceutical company responsible for the abortion pill AWC dispensed to Baby Roe’s mother.
“I just tried to plead with her and plead with her and just talk to her about it and see what I could do, but in the end, there was nothing I could do to change her mind,” Magers said. “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.”
The suit argues that statute, the state constitution, and judicial precedent all establish that Alabama recognizes preborn babies as legal persons, most recently via a state constitutional amendment declaring it the “public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.” Three rulings over the past decade, Personhood Alabama notes, “involved wrongful death suits and interpreted the world ‘child’ in the Wrongful Death Act to include unborn children as well as born children.”
On Tuesday, Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger recognized Baby Roe as a person with legal rights, WAAY reports, allowing Magers to represent his child’s estate.
“We have already had a victory, and it was the first one of its kind, ever,” Magers’ attorney Brent Helms said. “This is the first estate that I'm aware of that has ever been opened for an aborted baby.”
Magers was gratified at the ruling’s significance for not only himself but “other future fathers,” and Helms expressed optimism about the case’s chances of reaching the Alabama Supreme Court. “We are confident, and this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Abortion advocates in the state say they don’t expect the suit to ultimately prevail, but admitted to disbelief that it’s made it as far as it has.
“When this first came out, myself and the rest of the folks who do work on abortion rights in the state kind of laughed because it was so ridiculous on so many levels,” Yellowhammer abortion fund president Amanda Reyes told The Daily Beast. “But today’s ruling by the probate judge is just completely shocking.”
WAAY reports that the next step in the case is expected to be AWC’s April 1 deadline to respond to Magers and Personhood Alabama’s suit.