Women of Child-Bearing Age - the thin edge of the wedge may soon get thicker

(26 Posts)
DebrisSlide Mon 03-Feb-14 19:56:26

Not a DM link or behind a paywall

So, personhood laws on their way over here. It was only a matter of time...

scaevola Mon 03-Feb-14 20:16:16

Here's a fuller account in a blog post from the solicitors involved in the case and it's clear this has been rumbling on for some years.

How long is it likely to take to get through this hearing?

Shallishanti Mon 03-Feb-14 20:25:51

I'n astonished. I was under the impression that a foetus was not considered a person, how can it be a victim of a crime then?
I thought that was the whole reason women are able to decline intervention in pg/labour, even if it put the foetus at risk?

DebrisSlide Mon 03-Feb-14 20:29:48

Oh, thanks for that. Interesting.

I didn't know that claims used to be paid. Quite an odd scenario, all told.

Getting it into case law would not be in the interests of women, I would suggest.

NiceTabard Mon 03-Feb-14 20:42:57

This is bizarre.

The article is only speaking in terms of getting money. They do not mention at all any questions around whether prosecuting alcoholic women who have just had babies is in the public interest, whether there will be an impact on women if things inside their bodies are deemed to have rights, what this will mean for women who are eg obese, disabled with something that can be passed on genetically, enjoy various sporting activities or are in a relationship with someone who damages them etc and so on. In the US a woman is in prison for a long long time because she tried to commit suicide while pregnant, and the method damaged the child, but the woman survived.

They only talk about money.

We really really really don't need to go down this path. I don't understand the total lack of consideration as to what this will mean for women, in the piece.

I also don't understand how/why it has ever been the case that the criminal compensation scheme has awarded to children who were damaged while in utero, whether as a result of drink, drugs etc. I am surprised that was the case, shocked TBH.

DebrisSlide Mon 03-Feb-14 20:49:19

Well, there is history of making fundamental legal changes without considering what it would mean to women. About as fundamental as you can get, but that's been covered before.

munkysea Mon 03-Feb-14 22:13:44

It's all about the money. I find it highly suspicious that these cases are being brought at a time when NHS and local authority funding is being cut.

Hopefully the Court of Appeal will take the wider ramifications of a decision into account, and I would not be surprised if it went as high as the Supreme Court, because a change like this would be a fundamental change in the law.

DebrisSlide Mon 03-Feb-14 22:20:10

Don't hold your breath. The definitions of man and women were legally changed with hardly a whisper and just because marriage was more important.

So, we've seen the ramifications of the personhood laws in the US - will the judges at the Court of Appeal? How do we make them aware?

AuroraRoared Tue 04-Feb-14 23:24:54

There is an article about this in the Guardian, which I thought was very sensible.

NiceTabard Wed 05-Feb-14 14:57:50

The article is sensible as is the judge who gave that initial ruling.

The scale of misinformation about FAS spectrum or whatever it's called is shocking. I have heard of this from the US but didn't know it was being propagated here. FAS is an identifiable condition, which is recorded. However the application of a FAS "spectrum" label to loads of different things, with no proof whatsoever that they were linked to the mother drinking, is appalling. It is leading to a drive for all fertile women's behaviour to be controlled, whether they intend to get pregnant or not. Women being prosecuted for being addicts. And is a very slippery slope. What next? Will women be prosecuted for being overweight, for having a sport or hobby that can cause injury? A woman is in prison already for attempting suicide.

The whole thing is a disaster and I will be trying to watch and follow this to see where we end up in the UK. With the likes of Nadine Dorries in the party in power, there may be a will from the govt to let this through quietly.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 21:41:45

I'm not usually one for doing the whole "why are you frothing about X, when there is Y happening?", but I am quite astounded that this thread has not generated more discussion.

No wonder we are fucked, literally and metaphorically.

THIS IS QUITE FUNDAMENTAL, PEOPLE.

Once personhood laws are in actual case law ( rather than just CICS practice as was before), all hell could break loose.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 22:21:54

Thanks, Debris.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 22:29:30

Sorry, I am beyond angry and am clipped in my writing because I have a froth loads of words that are best not typed.

AuroraRoared Fri 07-Feb-14 08:20:34

I agree actually. I think sometimes though that it is easier to focus on the smaller things (which of course do still matter) than to really engage with (and therefore worry about) fundamental problems like this one.

I also think people don't realise that giving any rights to foetus's necessarily restricts the rights of all women of childbearing age.

I wonder if we are entering a new era of restrictions of the rights of pregnant (and therefore non-pregnant) women, what with the abortion law situation in Spain, and court cases like this one here. I hope that I am wrong.

Shallishanti Fri 07-Feb-14 16:18:06

' a woman is in prison already for attempting suicide'
any more details on this please?

DebrisSlide Fri 07-Feb-14 19:57:33
Shallishanti Sat 08-Feb-14 14:04:56

poor woman
but interesting that they say the feticide laws were intended to protect pregnant women, just shows how careful you have to be when drafting laws. However, that was in the US, and I'm still thinking that in the UK the fetus is not a person in law.

LauraBridges Sat 08-Feb-14 15:04:36

I think it is very important women lobby against this law. In labour English case law says we can take risks even to the life of the child. I found that very comforting. I took the decisions. My choice. The child was not yet born just as I have the choice of abortion or not.
If men want to control women who are pregnant they can hire a surrogate and lock her up for 9 months.

Bluesandgreen Sun 09-Feb-14 11:39:31

This is quite interesting article on FAS. I found it terribly reassuring after working myself into a panic when pregnant with DD and had got drunk at 6 weeks pregnant.
The concept of fAS as a spectrum disorder itself seems to be a useful stick to police women's behaviour.

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Fetal_Alcohol_Syndrome__The_Origins_Of_A_Moral_Panic.pdf

Bluesandgreen Sun 09-Feb-14 11:41:05

And yes, I agree with you op to get this into case law would be a complete disaster.

Fucking hell I'm speechless

YoniMatopoeia Mon 10-Feb-14 22:12:32

Marking place for when I am on my laptop to read links. I am past childbearing, but this kind of thing appalls me.

LauraBridges Tue 11-Feb-14 14:57:05

I really do hope women can treat it as seriously as if the right to abortion were being removed. It could be just as significant in controlling women and their bodies.

ShadowFall Wed 12-Feb-14 12:34:27

This kind of thing could set a very worrying precedent.

If a child with FAS can be a victim of crime because her mother drank heavily when pregnant, then the logical next conclusion would be to criminalise pregnant women who do things that might harm their unborn baby. Scary thought. It's a very slippery slope to go down.

Have the courts reached a decision on it yet?

Shallishanti Thu 13-Feb-14 10:25:27

Woman's Hour are discussing this now

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