Published: Sat, March 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

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

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

An Alabama man is suing an abortion clinic, claiming a fetus he fathered was aborted against his will, and representing the fetus in court in a weird legal first that he hopes will make it harder for women to have abortions.

Ryan Magers is suing Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives for killing the unborn baby he says he fathered. Magers said in court filings that when his then-girlfriend discovered she was pregnant in early 2017, he "repeatedly pleaded" with her to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth, but she wanted to have an abortion.

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. But Alabama voters a year ago approved a state constitutional amendment declaring "the importance of unborn life".

The Madison County probate courts decision to recognize the fetus as a person with legal rights is a first for the American legal system.

Magers is demanding a jury trial. But according to WHNT, the court papers do not make it clear that "Baby Roe" was an aborted fetus.

"Baby Roe's innocent life was taken by the profiteering of the Alabama Women's Centre and while no court will be able to bring Baby Roe back to life, we will seek the fullest extent of justice on behalf of Baby Roe and Baby Roe's father", lawyer Brent Helms said in a statement.

The Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives, unnamed people affiliated with the women's center, and an unnamed pharmaceutical company are included as defendants in the wrongful death suit.

"This is the first estate that I'm aware of that has ever been opened for an aborted baby", he told WAAY 31.

"It can further pursue not only me, but other fathers - other future fathers - can pursue it, as well", Magers said.

Helms said it could also be a landmark case. Gualberto Garcia Jones, president of the D.C. -based Personhood Alliance, said Wednesday that he is "very hopeful that Alabama will continue to lead the country in standing up for the rights of the pre-born".

"It has the potential to be used in other states, and it's part of abortion opponents being emboldened... and conservatives turning over every rock to see how they can ban abortion", said Elizabeth Nash of the abortion rights advocacy group Guttmacher Institute.

Helms said that since Alabama recognizes life as beginning at conception, and thus supports the case for Baby Roe's estate, the case could go before the state Supreme Court.

"But again, Roe, and its modern revision Casey, necessarily imply that these are not children, and therefore that laws concerning paternal rights do not apply to abortion cases".

Self-described feminist Mona Eltahawy tweeted, "This is the U.S. in the year 2019: a man AND a fetus are suing an abortion clinic".

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