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Thread: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

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    Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    ...child is subsequently born with alcohol related disorders and deformities and must be cared for life. The woman in question is not an alcoholic and there are no claims she has any other problems.

    With these facts, how can their be no accountability? I know we sorely lack a female perspective on hexus - not that I necessarily think that a woman would disagree with my opinion that the judgement of this case was idiotic, unless it is founded on some precedent or point of law upon which a judge is bound, which would just make it procedurally stupid.

    Perhaps someone on hexus could explain to me the error of my ways, and tell me why i shouldn't think of this as a form of attempted murder?
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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by yamangman View Post
    Perhaps someone on hexus could explain to me the error of my ways, and tell me why i shouldn't think of this as a form of attempted murder?
    Because a court of law decided it wasn't. It can be all sorts of horrible things, but by definition, it wasn't attempted murder. I guess that doesn't stop you thinking what you like, you just can't say it was

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    I'm surprised the hexus massive hasn't had their question-time bone tickled by this outcome.

    Respecfully to the only respondant, I would argue that I can say it was, and indeed I do.

    It seems like it was attempted murder.

    There, I said it!

    Trite though this response is, perhaps I should go some way to explain my position. One of the most important aspects seems to me that no argument was forwarded that the mother was an alcoholic. She knew the consequences of her actions, as would an alcoholic - that the unborn child might cease to be - but without the actual mitigating factor of being one. I concede this fact may not even be important as it relates to this case - the outcome was decided upon a technicality that the mother of an unborn child cannot be held accountable for it becuase it is unborn. This would be true whether or not the mother is alcoholic of course.

    If I were to stray from the case itself and impart my own opinion, I ask the question - who should we protect in society? I think we already have an answer to this question in the society in which we live - we inversely afford the most protection to the people who are least able to protect themselves. We have a mechanism in this country already to determine when a foetus is determined to have protection under law (a point I don't necessarily agree with, but that is probably a debate left to another time). At that point I am of the opinion that our obligation is one of an act of protection. That proection could take many forms, in this case perhaps not convicting the mother of attempted murder, instead perhaps a crime with comparable weight and seriousness.


    I wonder what form of human existence, what form of any life, is less able to protect itself than that which is involved in this case.
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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by yamangman View Post
    Respecfully to the only respondant, I would argue that I can say it was, and indeed I do.

    It seems like it was attempted murder.

    There, I said it!
    No, you didn't You can't say it was attempted murder. You can only say how you think of it (thus 'seems like').

    I would say your point is more about how attempted murder is defined in this country, and whether that definition needs to change.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Being an 'Alcoholic' should have no bearing whatsoever. Alcoholism, like obesity, is a choice not a disease.

    We hold mothers responsible for the care of their children, and venues exist to terminate a pregnancy at it's early stages. If the mother chooses to carry that pregnancy to term, it is a child that she should be held accountable for.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    I don't think you could call this attempted murder since that's a technical term and, to my limited knowledge, would, in part, at least require demonstration of intent to murder.

    I think it more likely that this could be considered abuse/neglect. To that degree I'd agree, there should be some sort of accountability.

    I think a difficulty with these cases lies in the fact that we often depend upon a cry for justice from the victim. Where unborn children are the victim they either have no voice, or else, years will pass before the victim can even begin to properly comprehend what has happened, what they have suffered, and then respond.

    It's easy to forget those who don't have a voice and whom, sadly, we often consider inferior.
    Last edited by Galant; 19-12-2014 at 06:00 PM.
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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by yamangman View Post
    ...child is subsequently born with alcohol related disorders ...
    Links to original source? Not questioning the facts, but it's be nice to read the context and how they were described in court. While there are undoubtedly a range of issues that can be directly attributed to consumption of alcohol, that's rarely the only possible cause, so without more detailed information it's very hard to say.

    And as Galant says, even if you could prove cuplability and decided there was a case to answer, it would more likely be neglect or abuse than attempted murder, which would (AFAIK) need to meet the premeditiation requirement of murder to even be considered.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    This one maybe?(BBC) (Or via The Independent)

    If so there are a good few bizarre/worrying statements in there.
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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    The whole case was really an attempt by "pro-lifers" to establish the principle that a foetus in utero is a person. They got their answer - it isn't. No person, no murder, attempted murder, etc...

    I am female, btw, and I strongly support a woman's right to do whatever she likes with her own body. I hate slippery slope arguments, but this is one on which we cannot give an inch, as there are too many people trying to control women "for the sake of the children", and the law in this country is very clear that an unborn foetus IS NOT a child/person/legal entity

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Your point is fair, though I would say it is more pointedly related to my use of English than my inability to grapple with the outcomes of the case. I might use the same phrase 'seems like' with someone who has been definitively convicted of murder for instance, simply because I personally would not possess the definitive edition of the facts.

    No, you didn't You can't say it was attempted murder. You can only say how you think of it (thus 'seems like').
    While I am completely agreeable with a female perspective to this issue, this seems like a simplification of the issue as presented, so I would address each criticism in turn.

    The idea that the case was pursued by a group with a set-in-stone ideology is flawed. Though I know not the mind of the group that made the complaint, the lawyers that followed it up, the individuals in the CPS who argued such a case was answerable, I cannot in good conscience characterise them all in so simplistic a way. I would further argue that neither can yourself. Certainly I do not consider myself a 'pro-lifer' but instead someone who would rather see our principles, laws and society evolve from an intellligent discussion of the facts.

    Even if I were to fully admit your suggestions regarding the non-protection of a child in-utero, the entity in question is now a human being, and one could argue much less so than it otherwise could have been due to the actions of the mother. I am not well versed in the law with regards to the legal protection of a foetus or otherwise, but I assume you know as well as I post-24 weeks things change with respect to the protection afforded and therefore, I would argue, is not as clear-cut as suggested.

    Though I find it difficult to disagree with your last paragraph as I broadly agree with it, I think it gets to the heart of my opinions on this case. The mother has a voice, has the ability to defend herself, has free will and free conscience. Can we divorce the ableness and freedoms she enjoys when she is so closely tied and grafted to another that has none of these, and that now by any objective fact of reality suffers as a human being as it would otherwise not have suffered - one who now possesses the protections that were and continue to be afforded the mother.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambersuccubus View Post
    The whole case was really an attempt by "pro-lifers" to establish the principle that a foetus in utero is a person. They got their answer - it isn't. No person, no murder, attempted murder, etc...

    I am female, btw, and I strongly support a woman's right to do whatever she likes with her own body. I hate slippery slope arguments, but this is one on which we cannot give an inch, as there are too many people trying to control women "for the sake of the children", and the law in this country is very clear that an unborn foetus IS NOT a child/person/legal entity
    To err is human. To really foul things up ... you need a computer.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Still not getting the point - a foetus *is not* a person, and it is certainly not a human being. Your "opinions" cannot change this. It is a fact. It is therefore not "another" with separate rights - it is a part of the mother.

    Until it is viable (and don't be fooled by the 24-week rubbish spouted by sentimentalists - survival and viability rates at that stage are still dire, care is profligately expensive, and outcomes poor) external to the mother's body it is no more an individual entity than her appendix.

    In this case, even that 24-week arbitrary marker cannot apply - they were arguing that the damage was done at the early developmental stages - you know, the part of pregnancy where many women don't even know they're pregnant.... This argument, if supported in law as thank goodness it was NOT in this country, leads to treating all potentially fertile women as objects for the production of healthy babies - look at some of the cases in America if you're not sure what happens after that bit. I'd also recommend reading something like The Handmaids Tale to get an idea of where that sort of thinking *might* end up...

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambersuccubus View Post
    The whole case was really an attempt by "pro-lifers" to establish the principle that a foetus in utero is a person. They got their answer - it isn't. No person, no murder, attempted murder, etc...

    I am female, btw, and I strongly support a woman's right to do whatever she likes with her own body. I hate slippery slope arguments, but this is one on which we cannot give an inch, as there are too many people trying to control women "for the sake of the children", and the law in this country is very clear that an unborn foetus IS NOT a child/person/legal entity
    Funny though, the moment the foetus is born, the full weight of the law goes to protect it, and even shortening another human life by only a few minutes renders that person liable to prosecution.

    The notion that a foetus is not a person is a convenient concept for pro-abortionists. The somewhat self-centred notion of a woman's right to choose ignores the responsibilities to another human life - unless it is considered that a foetus in the womb is neither alive nor human.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    ... The somewhat self-centred notion of a woman's right to choose ignores the responsibilities to another human life - unless it is considered that a foetus in the womb is neither alive nor human.
    So you're saying that pregnant women should be treated differently in law to everyone else? Seems to me there's a slippery slope in both directions. I have to admit I didn't know this previously, but clearly a foetus doesn't count as a legal person. You can argue all you want about them being alive and human, but that's kind of irrelevant to the thrust of this thread, and is an ethical argument, not a legal one. Once you take a group of people and start treating them as legally different to anyone else, you're flying face first into institutionalised discrimination - effectively you're asking to strip a pregnant woman of her human rights. You can say all you want about the rights and wrongs of the treatment of unborn children, but the concept of legally removing someone's humanity, for any reason, is abhorrent.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    I'm not saying anything like that, only that with 'rights' go responsibilities, but the fact remains that a pregnant woman is different from non-pregnant women - by virtue of being pregnant, just as men and women are different by being of different gender and pretending that they aren't is a bit like Canute ordering the sea to recede.

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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Technical point, a foetus is always a human being. That's just a point of science.
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    Re: Mother drinks heavily with child in utero...

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    ... the fact remains that a pregnant woman is different from non-pregnant women ...
    Absolutely - but should that be enshrined in law? Should men and women be treated differently in law? I'd say no. They're people. Treat them as people.

    Legally, foetuses aren't people. If you want to change the legal standing of pregnant women to protect their foetus, then you're removing a person's legal rights in preference to a non-person. Essentially, you'd be enshrining in law that a pregnant women is less of a person than a non-pregnant woman (or a man). Personally, I find that abhorrent. I'd be kind of surprised if most people didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    Technical point, a foetus is always a human being. That's just a point of science.
    Human being, as in member of the species homo sapiens, sure. You can't argue about that. But the word "Human" carries a lot of nuanced meaning beyond the simple biological. And ultimately,it comes down to personhood, where the legal position is just as inarguable as the biological one.

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