In a groundbreaking decision from Alabama (Hamilton v. Scott), nine Justices of the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) overturned a lower court decision finding that Plaintiff Amy Hamilton can sue several doctors and a medical group for their alleged negligence leading to the wrongful death of her unborn child.
Ms. Hamilton says that inadequate medical intervention caused the death of her child, even though the child could not have survived if born at the time of the medical emergency. This concept is called “viability”.
The Court addressed viability as discussed in the landmark 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, the well-known American case that legalized abortion.
Justice Tom Parker observed that the viability rule in Roe v. Wade is flawed since it has been superseded by major changes in medical technology. He writes “advances in medicine since Roe v. Wade have conclusively demonstrated that an unborn child is a unique human being at every stage of development.”
He also points out that Roe v. Wade is out of step with other areas of the law, including wills and estates law, tort law, and criminal law, where legislators and courts have recognized the rights of the unborn child.
Pro-life advocates are applauding Alabama’s decision and are encouraged that both law and medicine may lead to Roe v. Wade’s eventual demise.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang