The Alabama Supreme Court unanimously ruled Friday in defense of unborn life in a wrongful death lawsuit against an OB/GYN accused of contributing to the death of a woman’s unborn child. The court found that the trial court erred in dismissing Alabama resident Kimberly Stinett’s claim alleging the wrongful death of her unborn baby and granting summary judgement in favor of Karla Kennedy, M.D., on lack-of-proof-causation grounds.
The Alabama Supreme Court declared that Stinnett v. Kennedy may proceed, stating that unborn children are human beings and are entitled to legal protection. The court largely based its decision on an amendment in Alabama’s Homicide Act, which “changed the definition of a ‘person’ who could be a victim of homicide to include ‘an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability.” Alabama Supreme Court Justice Thomas Parker also wrote a concurring opinion, noting that the “viability” standard in Roe v. Wade is faulty.
Justice Parker wrote, “Unborn children, whether they have reached the ability to survive outside their mother’s womb or not, are human beings and thus persons entitled to the protections of the law—both civil and criminal. Members of the judicial branch of Alabama should do all within their power to dutifully ensure that the laws of Alabama are applied equally to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, both born and unborn,” Parker said.
Dr. Kennedy, who was standing in for Stinett’s regular physician, performed a dilation and curettage procedure to help determine whether her pregnancy was intrauterine or ectopic. Suspecting an ectopic situation, Kennedy administered methotrexate, which the court noted is “intended to cause the end of the pregnancy.” However, when Stinnett’s regular physician, William Huggins, returned, he determined that she had an intrauterine pregnancy after all, which was failing, possibly as the result of the methotrexate. Stinnett later miscarried and then sued Kennedy, who asserted in court documents that the pregnancy was already failing and she was simply following protocol.
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“Liberty Counsel applauds the Alabama Supreme Court and Justice Tom Parker for defending the legal rights of the unborn as clearly stated in Alabama law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We strongly urge other judges to do likewise as the value of human life is not a negotiable matter. The womb should be the safest place for a child and it must be legally protected. It’s time to turn the tables on Roe v. Wade,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.