The Alabama Supreme Court released an important decision in Hamilton v. Scott today.
The Alabama Supreme Court unanimously held that the court’s September 2011 decision in Mack v. Carmack, WL 3963006 (Ala. Sept. 9, 2011), extending the scope of Alabama’s wrongful death statute, includes the unborn child from the point of conception. Americans United for Life has supported these legal developments in the courts and in state and federal legislatures since the 1970s.
In addition, in footnote 3 on page 13, the Justices cite the “Declaration of Rights” in the Alabama Constitution as a basis for their decision: “we note that this Court’s holding in Mack is consistent with the Declaration of Rights in the Alabama Constitution, which states that “all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Ala. Const. 1901, § 1 (emphasis added). ”
Justice Parker, who wrote the unanimous decision, also wrote a special concurring opinion, joined by three other justices, Stuart, Bolin and Wise. Parker’s concurring opinion addresses the limits of Roe v. Wade and how it does not apply outside the abortion area. He also points out some of the weaknesses of Roe, with particular emphasis on how Roe’s “viability” rule has not been influential outside of abortion law.
The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision in Hamilton v. Scott is the most recent example of how state courts and state legislatures have given increasing legal protection to the unborn child from conception in state criminal and tort law.