Court Rules Fetus a ‘Person’

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas—Arkansas' Supreme Court ruled May 10 that a fetus is a person in a wrongful-death lawsuit, Associated Press reported.

The case arose from the Dec. 13, 1995, death of Evangeline Aka and her unborn son, following induced labor in a hospital. Her husband claimed the defendants had caused the two deaths through medical negligence by causing the two deaths.

In reversing a lower court ruling that the unborn child could not be named as a person in the lawsuit, the Supreme Court cited a 1999 law that amended state law to include a living fetus of 12 weeks gestation in the definition of a person.

Wrote Chief Justice W.H. “Dub” Arnold, “Given this amended definition of ‘person,’ the Legislature plainly affords protection to unborn viable fetuses.”