Judge rules Alabama man may not bring “wrongful death” claim for an abortion performed against his wishes

By Dave Andrusko

On Friday Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer ruled that Ryan Magers could not bring a wrongful death claim against the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville which aborted the baby of his then-girlfriend in 2017.

Last March a Madison County probate judge granted Magers’ petition to represent the estate of his aborted child, “Baby Roe.” Judge Frank Barger’s decree, according to the Washington Post, “explicitly states ‘Baby Roe’ is a person and allows plaintiff Ryan Magers to name the fetus as a co-plaintiff in the suit for ‘wrongful death.’”

“We have already had a victory, and it was the first one of its kind, ever,” said Brent Helms, Magers’ attorney. “This is the first estate that I’m aware of that has ever been opened for an aborted baby.”

Magers said in court filings that in early 2017 when his girlfriend discovered she was pregnant, he “repeatedly pleaded” with her to carry the baby to term. The unnamed woman was six weeks pregnant at the time of her abortion.

But in dismissing Magers’ wrongful death lawsuit, Judge Comer wrote “that Magers didn’t assert the defendants were engaged in unlawful conduct and the wrongful death claims are ‘precluded by existing state and federal laws pertaining to the conduct in question,’’ according to the Associated Press’ Kim Chandler.

Comer wrote, “…the Court finds that Plaintiff’s asserted claims for punitive money damages are not cognizable under Alabama law, including the Alabama Wrongful Death Act.”

In arguing the case, Helms cited Alabama’s passage of Amendment 2. The 2018 constitutional amendment declared and affirmed “that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Amendment 2 passed with 59% of the vote.

Back in March Helms gave an interview to Refinery29, a pro-abortion site. Helms said Magers “had sought legal action to try and stop her. ‘Ryan was all about family. He took on extra jobs to be able to pay for the birth of Baby Roe.’”

Helms told Chandler in an email, “We expected it would be dismissed at the trial court level. We knew we had to get to the appellate court level before we’d get traction.” Magers is weighing whether to appeal, Helms added.