Alabama Judge Awards Legal Rights to Aborted Child

March 7, 2019 Updated: May 15, 2019

An Alabama judge granted legal rights to an aborted child after the father sued the abortion clinic that ended his child’s life against his wishes.

Ryan Magers, the father, filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month claiming he didn’t want his girlfriend to abort Baby Roe, the legal name granted to the child, according to the lawsuit. He was seeking legal help when the mother aborted the child, according to Magers’ attorney, Brent Helms.

In order to bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of the unborn child, Helms petitioned a county probate court to grant Magers the right to represent Baby Roe’s estate; Probate Judge Frank Barger approved the petition. According to Helms, the judge’s decision is the first time an aborted child was granted rights to an estate and the right to bring a lawsuit in the United States.

“Ryan could sue on his own behalf as the father but in order to be able to sue on behalf of Baby Roe we had to open an estate,” Helms told The Epoch Times.

In a memorandum of support (pdf) for the estate petition, Helms cited seven Alabama State Supreme Court decisions which, since 2011, either explicitly or implicitly recognized the personhood of unborn children.

Helms filed the lawsuit with the Circuit Court of Madison County, Alabama, on February 6. The lawsuit (pdf) names Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, the people involved in performing the abortion, and the pharmaceutical company which produced the pill which the mother took to abort Baby Roe.

“He said he doesn’t want any father to go through what he had gone through and he also wants to protect unborn children,” Helms said.

Magers got a tattoo after the abortion.

“On this tattoo, he has three roses. Those are to remind him that the baby is beautiful. Whether it was a boy or a girl it would have been beautiful in his eyes. Also on the tattoo, he’s got a watch. That watch is to remind him that time is precious and you should make the best of the time that you have here on this earth,” Helms said.

Magers repeatedly pleaded with his girlfriend not to abort the child.

“In between the discovery of the pregnancy and the date of the appointment, [Magers] repeatedly pleaded with the mother not to kill Baby Roe,” the lawsuit states.

The memorandum in support of the estate petition states that the mother aborted Baby Roe in the first trimester of the pregnancy. According to the lawsuit, Baby Roe’s mother went to the abortion clinic and took a pill to abort the child. Baby Roe died on Feb. 12, 2017, the lawsuit states.

“It’s been difficult. It’s been emotional,” Helms said about his client’s experience. “I’m getting emails from fathers all across the country expressing the same thing, telling me 20 years ago their girlfriend or wife had an abortion and it has really taken a mental toll on them.”

Magers is asking for a jury trial. The case is currently at the lowest level court in Alabama, two tiers from the state’s supreme court.

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.”

Passed during last year’s midterm election, the law, also known as Amendment 2, granted unborn children constitutional rights and declared that Alabamans do not have a right to abortion under the state constitution. Nearly 60 percent of Alabamans supported the law during the election.

Helms said he could not find a case where a father sued on behalf of an unborn child in Alabama or elsewhere in the United States.

“It seems to me we are the first,” Helms said.

The wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case which, if Magers prevails, would result in monetary damages awarded to him. Helms said that since abortion is a for-profit business in Alabama, the entities involved would have to assess whether it is still profitable to operate in the state while facing the risk of similar lawsuits.

“If liability outweighs profitability, then just merely as a business decision, they’re not going to engage in abortion in the state of Alabama,” Helms said.

The Alabama Women’s Center is to file a response to the lawsuit by April 1, after which the judge may either grant Magers a chance to respond or set a date for a hearing.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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