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Man Sues Abortion Clinic After Girlfriend Terminates Pregnancy Without His Consent

While the enduring debate around abortion demonstrates how morally complex the issue is, the character of the American legal system has also established its legal complexity.

Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, things can be really darn complicated.

Some might consider the matter resolved thanks to the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade.

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However, the constitutional rights enshrined in that case have different legal contexts depending on the state.

And in Alabama, one ongoing case could introduce even more legal complexity to abortion issues.

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It asks the question about whose consent is required in order for an abortion to be carried out and who is at fault if that consent isn't granted.

Two years ago, Ryan Magers and his unidentified girlfriend could not come to an agreement about her pregnancy.

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According to WAAY 31, he begged her not to get an abortion, but she stood by her decision and went to the Alabama Women's Center for the appropriate resources.

Now, Magers is suing the women's center, its employees, and the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the medication used.

In many states, Magers' lawyer, Brent Helms, could have had a difficult time building a case for him.

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After all, as CNN detailed, the Supreme Court decision in Roe Vs. Wade affirmed a woman's right to have an abortion under Amendment 14 of the Constitution.

And indeed, Magers' girlfriend has a constitutional right to pursue the abortion as she did.

However, Alabama also has state laws that declare a person's life begins when they are conceived.

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It is likely these laws that, as WAAY 31 reported, led the probate court in Madison County, Alabama to classify the aborted fetus in this case as a person with legal rights.

According to Helms, this is the first time in the United States that this has happened.

What this means from a legal standpoint is that this fetus, apparently named Baby Roe, can have an estate.

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Not only that, but the probate judge has also empowered Magers to represent Baby Roe's estate, which means he can sue on Baby Roe's behalf.

So while Magers' girlfriend has a constitutional right to seek an abortion, a clinic that helps her do this does not necessarily have the same protection.

When WAAY 31 spoke to the Alabama Women's Center's owner back in February, he was not aware of the lawsuit.

What he did say was that at six weeks, a woman can choose whether she wishes to end her pregnancy by surgery or by medication.

However, the clinic must now craft a legal response to the suit by April 1st.

Magers said he is pursuing this lawsuit on behalf of "men who actually want to have their baby."

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He also expressed his belief that as soon as conception occurs, it results in a baby that deserves to live.

As he said, "Even though there's nothing I can do for the situation I was in, there is something I can do for the future situations for other people."

But while the Alabama state government may agree with him, the question of when personhood begins isn't quite that simple.

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According to Scientific American, the complexes of nerve cells that are necessary for a baby to have consciousness don't develop until at least the third trimester of pregnancy.

And how much consciousness one has after that is still not entirely known.

Unsurprisingly, opinions about the whole situation are mixed.


Many people argue that it's her body and she has the lawful right to get the abortion. Others note that the father should be given a say in the matter.

Another group grabbed onto a fact of the story that many skipped over: the age of the people in question.


According to a Fox News article on the story, the girlfriend was only 16 at the time of the abortion, while Mager was 19.

Setting aside issues of age of consent, parenthood is a huge responsibility for a girl that age to be required to take on.

But regardless of which side of the debate you're on, it's not difficult to understand the impact that a case like this could have.

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Helms believes both that this case could hold legal precedent if Magers wins and that it could go all the way to the state supreme court.

And if the result is that other prospective fathers can sue on behalf of aborted fetuses, this can certainly undermine the feasibility of operating an abortion clinic in Alabama

h/t: WAAY 31

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