This is not a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate post. I try to stay away from the biggies on my blog, that being one of them. But my sister shared this article on facebook and I found it a terribly interesting topic for discussion.
Most states have enacted their own personal state feelings on abortion procedures, whether its banning them from happening, slapping age or other restrictions, or making it completely open between a dr and a patient, but have you heard of the “foetal homicide laws” that 38 states have?
Basically the gist of it is that the law was put into place to charge people who incidentally murdered fetus’ by their actions in late term pregnancy..ie abuse, car accident, etc. But the laws are being used to prosecute women whose actions during their pregnancy result in a death of their unborn child, i.e. miscarriage. For example, a woman addicted to drugs who has a baby that ultimately dies shortly after its born or in utero. In that case, its a very interesting discussion regarding her drug use versus the babys rights, but the article also posts this disturbing scenario:
In one case, a woman’s unborn baby was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and she declined the doctor’s suggestion to abort. Her baby died after a premature birth and six months later she was arrested at home and retroactively charged with “chemical endangerment” during pregnancy. She denied taking drugs and there was no evidence, but she faces 10 years behind bars.
I am just shocked that there are states like South Carolina pursuing to put women in prison for a miscarriage.
In one way my thought process, which thinks very legally, knows it cant have its cake and eat it too. I realize if you can charge someone for abusing a pregnant woman and ultimately causing what will be deemed a prosecutable death, that the women themselves open themselves up to the same accountability.
In the other way I wonder if this is a massive slippery slope that no one wants to pursue.
What would constitute “endangerment to an unborn child”? Staying up late? Quitting Pre-natal pills? A glass of wine? Taking a Tylenol PM? Wearing heels and falling down in them? I also think it might be a way for pregnant-but-addicted women to choose abortion early on in a pregnancy, which is legal, over carrying a baby to full term and risk homicide charges.
What do you think….charge women for their actions during pregnancy or no?