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A lawyer will represent an unborn fetus in Alabama court after the father of the aborted fetus sued a women’s health clinic on its behalf, according to Vice News. The lawyer said the case will be “the first of its kind,” as it is recognizing rights of the unborn fetus, dubbed “Baby Roe” in court documents.
After the news broke, many argued that the court is giving more rights to unborn fetuses and men who impregnate women than the women themselves.
“This is chilling—and completely unacceptable,” wrote NARAL Pro-Choice America on Twitter.
An Alabama court has become the 1st in the U.S. to grant “personhood” rights to a fetus.— NARAL (@NARAL) March 6, 2019
This means the order of rights would be:
1. man who impregnated woman
3. PREGNANT PERSON.
This is chilling—and completely unacceptable.https://t.co/88S1r5xtdO
So am aborted fetus with no sentient thoughts yet have more rights and claims on a woman’s body than we do?— Kate McCrea #KeepPounding UNCG Media Studies Major (@kate_mccrea) March 5, 2019
lol I’d never thought I’d see the day where an aborted fetus got representation in court beFORE any woman or child that was inhumanely abused by ICE, funny how the system works https://t.co/zyS3qEeuZ8— ^_−☆ (@arlynegutz) March 6, 2019
Last month, the father, Ryan Magers, sued the Alabama abortion clinic that provided his girlfriend an abortion two years ago.
Meager petitioned a local court to allow him to represent the estate of the aborted fetus, and in an unprecedented move, Probate Judge Frank Barger signed off on the petition.
I literally just shouted “oh fuck you” 🤦🏾♀️ https://t.co/hcFRayDR06— 🕸Imani Gandy Corn🕸 (@AngryBlackLady) March 5, 2019
Local news outlet WHNT 19 points out that the judge may have not known exactly what he was signing off on due to ambiguity throughout Meager’s petition.
Meager’s girlfriend visited the clinic in 2017 after finding out she was pregnant, resulting in her taking a pill to terminate the six-week pregnancy, according to court records. At the time, Meager allegedly begged her not to go through with the abortion.
“An Alabama man is mad that his girlfriend got an abortion against his wishes, so he’s suing the clinic. How did the county respond? By declaring the aborted embryo (she was just 6 wks pregnant) a person with legal rights,” Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object, wrote on Twitter.
An Alabama man is mad that his girlfriend got an abortion against his wishes, so he’s suing the clinic. How did the county respond? By declaring the aborted embryo (she was just 6 wks pregnant) a person with legal rights https://t.co/pOcFdNAQpy— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 5, 2019
Vice News note that during the November midterm elections, Alabama amended its constitution to recognize “the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.” This is among the first lawsuits to successfully utilize the amendment. Meager is currently seeking a trial by jury.
Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.