Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pregnant Women under Attack?

I was shocked to read that many women who lose their babies through accidents are being prosecuted. Yet women who abort their children are within the law. (Yes, it is true that women should not drink or do drugs when they are pregnant.)  Here is a very disturbing article on how even a very good law, one designed to protect women and their unborn children, can be abused.
Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her foetus was diagnosed with possible Down's syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.

The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth. Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with "chemical endangerment" of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied.

"That shocked me, it really did," Kimbrough said. "I had lost a child, that was enough."

She now awaits an appeal ruling from the higher courts in Alabama, which if she loses will see her begin a 10-year sentence behind bars. "I'm just living one day at a time, looking after my three other kids," she said. "They say I'm a criminal, how do I answer that? I'm a good mother."


Titus said...

I've not read the laws in the various states mentioned in the article. I do not believe my state currently has one. I am, however, generally familiar with the type of act in question. They're generally enacted by pro-life legislatures in an attempt to circumvent the insane jurisprudence of our day.

But even at common law, most of the women described in the article would have faced prosecution: if a child was born alive and then died, a person who injured him before birth could be prosecuted for murder. Of course, abortion wasn't a sacred right at common law, either.

It is possible, perhaps even probable, that they constitute a form of over-criminalization. Like most laws, especially most new laws, they require restraint on the part of prosecutors. Laws, of course, are not meant to require restraint on the part of those administering them: they are meant to restrain both prosecutor and prosecuted alike. At the same time, I can't say I have much confidence in the Guardian to make a fair reporting on a thing like that.

elena maria vidal said...

Good points. I agree about The Guardian especially when it is reporting about something going on here. I know that the law in question is a federal law designed to protect expectant mothers and their children.