Woman prosecuted after taking meth leads to still birth in mississippi

(68 Posts)
cogitosum Mon 27-May-13 09:10:48

Sorry if this has already been posted but couldn't see it anywhere. I know it's not in uk but I think it's a very scary prospect as could open doors to cases of women being prosecuted for smoking, drinking, eating wrong type of cheese etc in pregnancy if this ends in miscarriage

I had mmc last year and was looking for reasons to blame myself as I'm sure many women are. The idea that a court could do the same thing is horrifying.

Given some people's opinions on women smoking in pregnancy even on here this idea isn't so far fetched (incidentally I didn't smoke or drink in pregnancy and now 34 weeks but I'm sure I've broken some of the 'rules' and strongly believe that a woman's body is her own).

On phone so I'm not sure if link Will work sorry.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2013/05/23/mississippi-miscarriages-supreme-court_n_3327974.html

LynetteScavo Mon 27-May-13 09:16:45
MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 09:19:26

There's a big difference between eating cheese or smoking to taking highly dangerous drugs.

I've had a miscarriage and despite, like you, trying to blame myself, I eventually had to reach the conclusion that it was just something that happened.

If I had been taking drugs though, I would expect to proportion done if the blame for being so reckless and irresponsible. Rightly so.

cogitosum Mon 27-May-13 09:19:43

Thank you!

MrsWolowitz Mon 27-May-13 09:20:07

Done if = some of.

Pah.

LynetteScavo Mon 27-May-13 09:20:41

I'm wondering whether abortion laws in a particular state can effect the outcome of such a case.

Personally, I think if something's legal when not pregnant, you shouldn't be prosecuted if you do it when you are.

kilmuir Mon 27-May-13 09:21:15

not clear was the poor baby born stillborn at term? miscarriage is term used up to 12 weeks isn't it.
Well I don't think you can compare someone drinking a small glass of wine once whilst pregnant with someone who chose to keep taking meths through pregnancy

LynetteScavo Mon 27-May-13 09:24:18

But I doubt this woman used meths because she wanted to...she probably had an addiction. She probably is blaming herself, and doesn't need a prison sentence to point out that blame to her. She needs help to become clean and/or not conceive again.

You don't have to eat cheese.

cogitosum Mon 27-May-13 09:24:45

Sorry thank you was to lynettescarvo. Absolutely there's a difference but the problem is the legal precedence that's set opens the floodgates and that's what the lawyers are now arguing. Where exactly would the line be.

Also what if someone wasn't aware they were pregnant (which in the chaotic lifestyle of an addict isn't hard to imagine). Where is their responsibility? Or even of someone wasn't aware and takes drugs recreationally.

I think the precedent is very scary for women there.

GoblinGranny Mon 27-May-13 09:27:37

'Well I don't think you can compare someone drinking a small glass of wine once whilst pregnant with someone who chose to keep taking meths through pregnancy'

No sensible, rational person would.
However, they are thin on the ground when it comes to legislating for pregnant women, and I can see the concerns about what could potentially happen in the future, and the potential for draconic laws.
Is it certain that the child died as a consequence of the mother's meths addiction?

CheerfulYank Mon 27-May-13 09:30:52

There is already legal precedence because you can be prosecuted if, say, you hit a pregnant woman with your car and her fetus dies.

In the case of the women who were abducted in Cleveland, the abductor is facing murder charges for the forced miscarriages one woman endured.

I agree the precedent is scary.

It's OTT - surely there are already laws against drug use? So why the need to give her the extra punishment for doing something to her health that contributed to her baby's stillbirth?

acceptableinthe80s Mon 27-May-13 09:35:27

How on earth would they ever prove the cause of a MC? And often babies who's mothers take drugs/alcohol do survive but have health problems, what would happen in those cases.
Seems ridiculous when you think for example a person who murders a pregnant woman is only charged with the murder of the woman and not the child she is carrying, well in the UK anyway.
If unborn children are to have rights then all sorts of laws would have to change.

LynetteScavo Mon 27-May-13 09:35:52

I read somewhere that in the US women of child bearing age are encouraged to consider themselves "pre-pregnant" at all times, and behave as though they may be pregnant. hmm

I can totally get how this might apply to medical professionals when treating women of child bearing age, and it's probably where the idea started.

It is possible to charge someone with something extra for murdering a pregnant woman, at least in the US. I don't know the terminology but you can be convicted of the crime of killing the foetus.

I think that is different, though, because if you kill a pregnant woman or cause her foetus to die, that is obviously an appalling injury to her and her family - it is different from a woman doing something that may or may not have cause her own body to stop supporting her pregnancy.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feticide

Scary reading. Especially the poor woman who was charged with feticide after she tried to kill herself. sad

YoniMatopoeia Mon 27-May-13 10:00:13

I find this quite scary.

I can see that if you could prove intent, that possibly a charge of causing an illegal abortion could be brought.

And even then you would need to prove that she believed that her actions were more than likely to bring about miscarriage.

But this seems to say that the woman has a responsibility to do nothing to endanger the foetus. Now taking meths may be quite a high risk activity for your pregnancy (i personally don't know how high that risk is), but where will the line be drawn?

It's taken me ages to type this on my phone, so excuse any x posting, and the fact I may not have explained myself well.

GoblinGranny Mon 27-May-13 10:03:25

'Seems ridiculous when you think for example a person who murders a pregnant woman is only charged with the murder of the woman and not the child she is carrying, well in the UK anyway.'

Acceptableinthe80s, that's not quite right. There is a criminal charge of child destruction that can be levelled at anyone who causes the death of a viable fetus.

acceptableinthe80s Mon 27-May-13 10:19:48

I admit, I don't know much about law, I was just thinking of a particular case in the UK where a stranger stabbed and killed an 8 month pregnant woman and was obviously charged with her murder but not that of her unborn child. Then there's the women who lose babies due to DV, I've never heard of a man being charged with the murder/manslaughter of their unborn child. Of course just because I've never personally heard of such a case does'nt mean it hasn't happened. But I know there are women on here that this has happened to.

VinegarDrinker Mon 27-May-13 10:23:44

It's a very worrying precedent, although thankfully we have much more pro-women (ie rather, not so anti-women) laws in the UK.

Obesity raises the risk of stillbirth. Should obese women be prosecuted if their baby dies? After all they could "just lose weight" before getting pregnant...

HairyLittleCarrot Mon 27-May-13 10:26:39

what the heck is going on in the US at the moment? It's terrifying.

Men: here are your rights over your own body.
Women: dare to assume you have equal rights to men over your own body and we will imprison you. different laws apply to you and you have less rights. in LAW.

It's as if, having abolished slavery and established equal rights under law for all races, a desperate need has emerged to make SOME class of people LESS in law.

And it's women.

CheerfulYank Mon 27-May-13 11:58:19

80s in the US men are routinely charged for murder in the death of a fetus. Laci Peterson's husband etc.

GoblinGranny Mon 27-May-13 12:09:07
Smudging Mon 27-May-13 12:33:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LuckyLuckyMe Mon 27-May-13 12:57:18

I think that taking meths while pregnant most probably leading to the death of the unborn child is an actual crime.

A woman having suffered a MC must put so much blame on themselves. It must be awful for them to analyse everything they did and ate etc. even when they did nothing wrong. It must be torture but a woman taking a drug while pregnant should be held responsible for the resultant miscarriage. I doubt a court would convict if there was no proof that the drug didn't cause it.

A woman trying to end a pregnancy on purpose is not unheard of. Maybe there should be legislation to stop it.

I am definitely pro-choice. I think it is absolutely up to the woman how she lives, what drugs she takes or if she wants to abort a foetus but taking a drug while pregnant that could affect the child's health disgusts me.

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