Last Friday, Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that a pre-born child has the right to be awarded damages for wrongful loss in the event of the death of their parent.
Brenna Gray sued her husband’s physician, Daniel Baldi, citing that his poor medical practice led to the death of her husband and former bassist of Slipknot, Paul Gray. Gray was receiving treatment for his drug addiction, but he died of an accidental overdose on May 24, 2010. The jury cleared Baldi of all criminal charges. Brenna Gray’s spousal consortium claim was also dismissed for being filed two years after the death.
However, Iowa allowed the lawsuit on behalf of her preborn child for parental consortium injury (referred to as O.D.G by the court,) which is for the loss of parental “support, companionship, aid, affection, comfort, and guidance” to carry on.
Baldi’s attorney took the pro-choice approach stating that the fetus doesn’t count as a minor and an unborn child is not yet alive. The Iowa Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the O.D.G law does in fact apply to a preborn child.
“[A] child conceived but not yet born at the time of [her] parent’s death can bring a parental consortium claim” after she is born, said the Court in its ruling. “Whatever deprivation of consortium O.D.G. is currently experiencing is no less real just because she did not experience it in utero.”
The little girl was no longer in the womb and was 3 years-old at the time when the O.D.G. was filed.
In the court’s decision, the officials tried to distance themselves from how this ruling supports pro-life stance in the abortion debate.
“[T]he semantic argument whether an unborn child is a ‘person in being’ is beside the point. … Any reader who scours this opinion’s interstices for implied sentiments about any context beyond the narrow parental consortium question presented undertakes a fool’s errand,” wrote the court.
Nonetheless, many pro-life supporters see this as one step closer to proving a fetus is very much alive and should be given the chance to live.
“The case is not huge and not unprecedented,” said Clarke Forsythe, the president and senior counsel for Americans United for Life to worldmag.com. “But it does confirm that the unborn child is a human being in the womb.”
Editor’s Note: From a medical standpoint, no one has ever been able to establish when a fetus becomes a human being. Frankly, it is not possible to even write a definition, under the current state of science.
This is an important ruling, that preborn children have rights. If one looks at the exact point in the pregnancy when the death occurred, one can simply say at that point the court has ruled a fetus is a human being and has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness per the Constitution of the United States.
So he passed away May 24, and she was born August 17. That is 96 days. Human gestation is 280 days, so the court has declared this fetus was a human being with legal rights at 185 days or just over six months into her term.