An Aborted Embryo Is Suing This Alabama Clinic

Can an aborted embryo sue a business? Apparently the answer is yes — at least, if you live in Alabama.

Ongoing state supreme court rulings that have granted fetuses, embryos and even fertilized eggs “personhood” with legal rights, combined with a recent state constitutional amendment declaring the same, have now culminated in the state’s first test case on just how far the right will go to end all legal abortion.

The answer? Very, very far.

Meet Ryan Magers, a 21-year-old man from Alabama. He’s hired a lawyer to help him with a lawsuit on behalf of himself and “Baby Roe,” who they claim was a victim of wrongful death.

That “death” occurred at the hands of a Huntsville, Alabama, abortion clinic. Now, Magers is suing the clinic’s owner, the doctors who work there and even the pharmaceutical company that distributed the drug responsible for ”killing” his “child.”

Oh, and that child? A six-week gestation-aged embryo. Yes, Magers is suing because the person he impregnated decided to have an abortion rather than carry a pregnancy to term and give birth.

Magers’ lawyer paints the young man as an aggrieved father denied the opportunity to raise a desperately wanted child, although the person carrying it is mostly absent from the legal proceedings. It’s important to note that he does not claim her as one of the suit’s targets or even a part of the so-called wrongful death, despite it being her pregnancy, her embryo, her appointment with the clinic and her action in taking the medication that brought about the abortion.

Magers, they say, begged her not to have an abortion, and she went against his wishes. He’s speaking for all the “fathers” out there, according to his lawyer, Brent Helms.

Fox News reports:

Helms, who is seeking monetary damages and a jury trial, says the ultimate goal is to increase the rights of would-be fathers and strip protections in place for women who are seeking abortions in Alabama. “I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby,” he said. “I believe every child from conception is a baby and deserves to live.”

Of course, there’s far more to the story — and this goes beyond “future fathers’ rights,” a restriction that the Supreme Court has repeatedly said cannot be used to block a pregnant person from obtaining a constitutionally protected abortion.

As the Washington Post discovered, this lawsuit, which was filed in early 2019, concerns a pregnancy that was terminated two years earlier. At that time, Magers was 19. His girlfriend? Just 16 years old.

Alabama, like many states, is a parental consent state. Any pregnant person under the age of 18 must get permission of a parent or guardian in order to obtain a termination — or find a judge willing to offer a bypass. That’s not easily done, either.

In 2014 changes to abortion laws — including this ever-expanding definition of “personhood” for the unborn at any point after conception — opened the door so wide that courts could offer lawyers for the fetus or embryo itself, arguing on behalf of the unborn and against the teen carrying it. That law was finally struck down by the courts after a full three years of being in effect.

But this 16-year-old didn’t have to defend herself or rely on the court system. Instead, she got parental permission to end her pregnancy. Yet Magers and his lawyer are now claiming that he should be able to override both her legal rights and those of her own parents.

In a just world, this case will go absolutely no further. Magers and his lawyer have had their one big unprecedented win: getting a probate court to agree that he can be the representative of the aborted embryo’s estate. But having an estate doesn’t necessarily grant the right and standing to sue, although it does make it that much easier to do so.

But what won’t change is that we’ve found yet another way for men to flex their power over vulnerable people in their lives by virtue of their ability to get them pregnant. Reproductive coercion, in all its forms, is a serious type of physical and emotional abuse — and pregnancy is perhaps the most dangerous, as it forms a legal tie between two people that is almost impossible to break.

The teen girl’s father says he believes Magers pressured his daughter into sex. While that may or may not be true, it’s strikingly obvious that Magers is willing to sue over an abortion that already happened — one that is destined to become a massively public legal case and very likely to expose a girl’s medical life and personal life to a myriad of people in the process. And that points to the likelihood that there was already a power issue at play.

The other obvious fact? Anti-abortion activists are willing to support any problematic potential abuser even if it could mean harm to a minor girl — as long as it bring them one step closer to ensure every pregnant person is forced to give birth.

Photo credit: Robin Marty/Flickr


MilliSiteProbs M

Is he 21 now or was that his age two years ago? If he was 21 then, he can be charged for having sex with a 16 year old, but my guess is he was 19 then, the legal age, unfortunately Alabama law states he cannot be charged as he was not 4 years older than the 16 year old girl. Now doesn't that just bite! Some law makers need to wake up and smell the coffee or pull their heads out of the sand. Personally, the law is a disgrace, what is the matter with these people, regression back to the dark ages or the adoption of laws from some unmentionable foreign county maybe that considers the pet dog of more value than a female?

Jennifer H
Jennifer H6 days ago

Another disgusting abuse of a young female. They just keep heaping on the BS to take rights away. Not to mention that shouldn't he be the one in the hot seat for sex with a minor?

Karen Swenson
Karen S9 days ago

@Paul B--Hysterics and Ninnies! FACT CHECK---- The situation the Gov in Virginia described is the one in which a newborn is too deformed to survive or otherwise nonviable. Gov. Northams is a gifted neonatologist who has stood watch over countless little ones, bringing them back to life. This is too idiotic to even comment on and another lie to add to the mountain of lies, by the hysterical Anti-choice crowd. Paul--I have some swamp land you can buy--let your Anti choicers know--they'll believe anything and apparently do! Any moron would know if you killed a live baby that is murder under the law. Again, you must have the lowest opinion of women on the planet. And Paul, you can't tell exactly what would happen in any situation!

Bill Arthur
Bill A9 days ago

Beverly D when the man carries the fetus then he can make the final decision. Until then remember all the gods I have heard of had no problem killing off lots of people so why would any of them care about a fetus. And another way to think about it is if a fetus has a 'life' and the right to live then every sperm cell and egg would be entitled to live as well.

Paul B
Paul B10 days ago

Karen S... have you not been keeping up with VA and Gov Northam who said that exact thing. Several other states are moving in the same direction. This is a precursor to infanticide... .how do you feel about that?
In case you missed it, here is what he said.
Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam defended his party’s new 40-week abortion bill on Wednesday and said it would allow women to abort their baby post-birth.

"So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
Other rights are being given to a mother who can abort up to and during delivery, with no restrictions at all. Is that okay?
Granted, he frames this in light of there being "problems" with the new born, and rare. But, IMO, this opens the door to a very slippery slope. IF the child is born, it is a child with rights and every effort should be made to keep it alive. Killing it would be considered murder.

pam w
pam w10 days ago

Standing with those of you who are cynical about the motives of this ''daddy wanna-be." And of the FAUX CHRISTIANS who want to jam their dogma into the lives of every woman who lives in this nation.

David C
David C11 days ago

I cannot write here on c2 what I think of Magers and Helms in this article

Karen S
Karen S11 days ago

@Beverly D--So you think a man should be able to have choice and rights, but not women. He should be able to rape her, and then insist she have that baby and then keep the woman hostage having rights to that child forever. How loving, Godly and compassionate of you. And how would I know if I wasn't here and how could I care? Not being a Narcissist, I would want my mother to have a choice to have me, rather than be forced, like a female farm animal, if she didn't want to give birth to me. And, being you said, God bless--it didn't bother God one tiddle to murder, not only fetuses, but little innocent babies and children as well, over and over again.

Susanne R
Susanne R11 days ago

Consider the money-making opportunities for an unemployed 19-year old male who coerced a 16-year old girl into having unprotected sex! He can sue pharmaceutical companies (and some vultures --who like to call themselves "lawyers"-- are lining up for their share of the spoils). He's becoming the hero and poster boy for anti-abortion groups. He'll be able to make television appearances, and perhaps write (or, more likely, have someone else write) a book about his experience. Easy fame and fortune for a 19-year old unemployed boy at a 16-year old girl's expense.

One has to wonder if that was his intent all along. According to the girl's family, the "boy who would be daddy" coerced the 16-year old girl into having unprotected sex. Is he seeking fame and fortune? Is he doing this at the urging of well-funded pro-life groups? Let's not assume he's a hero of some kind. Time may tell a much different story about this man-child who's in no position to be a father.

Thomas M
Thomas M11 days ago