'Jackson's Law' clears house

A bill allowing parents to sue those responsible for unlawful or negligent actions that lead to an unborn child’s death has cleared the statehouse.

 

Dubbed “Jackson’s Law,” SB200 was sponsored by Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage.

Presuming Gov. Sean Parnell’s signature, the bill would make Alaska the 41st state allowing parents to file civil lawsuits for such actions.

“There is no loss more devastating than the loss of a child, no matter the child’s age,” said Sen. McGuire. “Currently, Alaskan families have no civil recourse when suffering the loss of an unborn child through the unlawful or negligent actions of another person. ‘Jackson’s Law’ is a long overdue response to the heartbreaking stories of families who have suffered such a loss.”

The bill follows a 2006 law passed in Juneau that altered the criminal law so unborn children could be victims of crimes like murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide in court.

It is named after Jon and Kimberly Goodwin’s son Jackson, who died in December 2012 as a result of a failure in the health care system, the Goodwins said.

“The only thing that separated him from breathing was the health care that was provided that day that was a mistake,” Jon Goodwin told lawmakers earlier this session.

The bill specifically exempts legal abortions, instances that occur during regular medical procedures and situations where the mother herself causes the death.

“Although no compensation could ever account for the loss of parents and families, this bill will provide families with recognition and a course for healing,” McGuire said.

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