Madison County judge to determine future of 'Baby Roe' abortion case

Judge Chris Comer will make a decision within 14 days of receiving written orders from both sides.

Posted: Jul 24, 2019 6:29 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2019 10:30 AM

Madison County Judge Chris Comer heard from both sides in the "Baby Roe" abortion case on Wednesday. He will decide if the landmark lawsuit should continue.

Ryan Magers is suing the abortion clinic in Huntsville over his girlfriend's abortion in 2017. On Wednesday, Judge Comer told both sides to submit orders with their arguments in writing of why they believe the case should continue or be tossed. He will make a decision within 14 days of receiving the orders. 

The two sides were present for a motion hearing after the defense, the Alabama Women's Center in Huntsville, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. 

The plaintiff, Ryan Magers, wants the clinic held responsible for providing an abortion he never wanted his girlfriend to have. His team argues the unborn fetus, called "Baby Roe," deserved to live and the termination was a wrongful death.

"That unborn child possessed a constitutional right to life, to due process, and to equal protection under the laws," Magers attorney, Brent Helms, said.

In March, a probate judge granted "personhood" to Baby Roe, giving him or her rights. Magers was given the estate. Helms claims that decision marks the first time it's happened in the country, and those rights include life, something the abortion clinic took away.

Magers initially filed suit both as an individual and as the representative of Baby Roe, but on Wednesday, he had to choose one or the other. Magers was removed as an individual plaintiff and now only represents the unborn child.

"So, for the first time in the history of America, the aborted child has been able to move forward with this case," Helms said. 

Helms claims the case must continue because the abortion of the unborn fetus, which was granted personhood, is a wrongful death. Sara Tucker defends the Alabama Women's Center and argues the procedure was legal, and there was nothing wrongful about it.

"The bottom line here is this is a simple case. They have sued for the wrongful death of an embryo and at the time that happened, abortion was legal in Alabama and still is," Tucker tells WAAY 31. 

If the abortion clinic is held civilly liable, Tucker is worried for the future of women and doctors in the state of Alabama.

"There will be no medical providers in the state of Alabama that will provide legal abortions, so that is going to completely nullify any woman in Alabama's ability to seek out a legal, medical abortion," Tucker said. 

The two sides went back and forth for an hour presenting arguments. Judge Comer questioned why the mother is not part of this case. The defense says she was granted anonymity.

Judge Comer also told the plaintiff their argument right now is too "broad" and needs to be cleared up. 

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