Alabama Court Says Unborn Child is a Unique Human Being

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Justice Tom Parker observed that the viability rule in Roe v. Wade is flawed since it has been superseded by major changes in medical technology.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


6 thoughts on “Alabama Court Says Unborn Child is a Unique Human Being

  1. Law catching up with science, and of course the Bible.

    1. Educators for years have been aware of careful experiments that have shown that a child is teachable before birth, and new science now shows even earlier responses to music at early stages of growth.

    2. Psalm 139:13-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

    13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
    15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
    16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
    Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

  2. Although the fetus was not “viable”, in that it could have survived independent of the mother at the time, if appropriate, competent medical attention would have allowed the mother to carry it to term, then I feel that there should be negligence there. Obviously I’m no legal expert, but from my perspective I don’t think the question needs to be framed in a manner that redefines the “person-hood” of a fetus.

    Of course I realize that the politically-charged nature of the issue means that it’s inevitable that it tie into the abortion debate, but I don’t feel that it has to or should.

    It seems to me, in all my ignorant wisdom, that a fetus might be considered a mother’s body part until it reaches viability. It would presumably preserve the mother’s right to make decisions about her own body, but would allow prosecution or negligence claims against anyone who caused the loss of the fetus without her consent.

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