Non-Viable Fetus Law and Legal Definition

Non-viable fetus is a fetus that not capable of living or developing. It can be an expelled or delivered fetus which, although living, cannot possibly survive to the point of sustaining life independently, even with support of the best available medical therapy.

Nonviable means not capable of living, growing, or developing and functioning successfully. It is antithesis of viable, which is defined as having attained such form and development of organs as to be normally capable of living outside the uterus. [Wolfe v. Isbell, 291 Ala. 327, 329 (Ala. 1973)]

The following are excerpts from a State Statute (Alabama) relating to non-viable fetus:

Code of Ala. § 26-22-3. No person should intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly perform or induce an abortion when the unborn child is viable. However, if an abortion is performed by a physician and that physician reasonably believes that the unborn child is not viable, then there is no penalty.

Similarly, Code of Ala. § 26-22-4 provides that except in the case of a medical emergency, prior to performing an abortion upon a woman subsequent to her first 19 weeks of pregnancy, the physician should determine whether, in his/her good faith medical judgment, the child is viable. When the physician has determined that a child is not viable after the first 19 weeks of pregnancy, s/he should report the basis for such determination.