A judge in Alabama has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a six-week old aborted baby.
Court documents allege that a then-16-year-old Alabama woman obtained a medication abortion in February 2017, despite the protestations of her boyfriend, Ryan Magers who said he was the father of the child.
Magers subsequently sued the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, saying that he had wanted to keep the child.
Alabama voters approved changes to the state constitution – Amendment 2 – in November 2018 to establish a right to life of unborn children, known as a “personhood clause.” The measure passed with 60 percent support from the public. The state also has statutes defining “personhood” as beginning at conception, as well as several opinions from the Alabama Supreme Court doing the same.
In an Aug. 30 ruling, however, Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer said none of these measures are legally applicable, due to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that established a “right to abortion” nationwide, as well as federal and state laws on abortion that are currently in effect.
Magers’ attorney had created an estate for the unborn baby, arguing that doing so granted personhood to the baby, identified in court documents as Baby Roe.
But Judge Comer disagreed, saying the estate creation process was “ministerial in nature.”
Brent Helms, Magers’ attorney, told CNA in March that the case is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, and hopes to establish a new precedent in what is legally “uncharted territory.”
The lawsuit names as wrongdoers the manufacturer of the pill that terminated the unborn baby's life, the abortion clinic, the doctor, the nurses, and all those who participated in the abortion.
If those entities are found liable for the wrongful death of Baby Roe, Helms said in March, then what was once a profit-making industry will now be subject to liability.
“And the question for them will be, ‘are we more subject to liability than we are to profitability?’ If a drug manufacturer determines that they're going to be held liable for an abortion in the state of Alabama, I doubt they're going to send any kind of pills to Alabama for an abortion,” he said.
“So I would think [their] conclusion would likely be that liability outweighs profitability, and therefore abortion is eliminated in the state of Alabama. It's just a simple business decision.”
Helms told local WHNT News 19 this week that they plan to appeal Judge Comer’s decision, saying, “As this is the first case of its kind, we expected to have to appeal to a higher court. At this point, we are exactly where we thought we’d be.”