A man who sued an abortion pill manufacturer and abortion clinic in Alabama has gained the right to recognise the aborted foetus's legal rights, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
Huntsville-based Alabama Women's Centre for Reproductive Alternatives and an unknown pharmaceutical company that manufactures pills "designed to kill unborn children" were named as defendants.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 5, 2019
Magers, 19, said that he "repeatedly pleaded" with his girlfriend after she discovered she was pregnant in 2017, but she insisted on an abortion, making his case the first of its type in the US, according to court documents.
"It's the first time in the country that an aborted foetus has been recognised as having legal rights", Brent Helms, Mr. Magers' attorney, told local news outlet WHNT 19.
The news comes after debates on "foetal rights" has gained traction in the US, where abortion rights groups slamming Judge Barger's ruling as a dangerous precedent.
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Alabama Women's Centre owner and administrator Dalton Johnson said that the case was "unprecedented" and that his clinic was "assembling our legal team".
Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America president, tweeted that the lawsuit was a "very scary case".
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) March 5, 2019
A NARAL spokesperson tweeted that the order of rights would go first to the "man who impregnated [the] woman, the foetus, and then the "pregnant person".
"This is chilling-and completely unacceptable," the spokesperson added.
— NARAL (@NARAL) March 6, 2019
"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.
— Fran Adkins (@fran_adkins) March 6, 2019
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But Personhood Alabama spokesperson Hannah Ford said in a statement that Baby Roe had been "cruelly robbed of life and silenced before entering the world or being able to personally voice a complaint in court."
According to the woman's father, his family was "really distraught", adding that she was aged 16 years at the time and Mr. Magers was unemployed whilst discovering she was pregnant.
"We had a long discussion over what she was going to do when she got pregnant," her father said. "And we said we would support her either way".
"They weren't married, and I felt, legally, it was her right to make that decision."
US abortion rights groups have blamed US president Donald Trump and his administration for appointing US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in October last year which began calling "into question the future of Roe v. Wade and abortion access in the United States", according to a Guttmacher report.
"Just one month after Justice Kavanaugh took his seat on the bench, voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved state constitutional amendments intended to allow for additional abortion restrictions or even pave the way for outright bans on abortion in the event Roe is undermined or overturned," the report said.