MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that a woman’s wrongful death lawsuit against an OB/GYN accused of contributing to the death of her unborn child may proceed. It declared that unborn children are human beings whether or not at the point of viability and therefore are entitled to legal protection.
“In light of the legislative recognition that a ‘person’ includes an ‘unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability,’ we do not believe that probable progression to viability is the appropriate relevant proximate-cause inquiry in this case,” it wrote. “Rather, we hold that, in order to establish proximate cause, Stinnett was required to show that Dr. Kennedy’s actions probably caused the death of the fetus, ‘regardless of viability.’”
The matter at issue involved Alabama resident Kimberly Stinnett, who experienced abdominal cramping and fever early in her pregnancy and was consequently instructed to go to the emergency room. As she had experienced an ectopic pregnancy in the past, the doctor who saw her, Karla Kennedy, was concerned that the situation might be recurring.
“An ultrasound performed in the emergency room revealed intrauterine fluid in the endometrial cavity that could be a gestational
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