Monday, January 13, 2020

Pregnant Women Essay

In my opinion, pregnant women should be punished for partaking in legal behaviors such as taking fertility medication, smoking, and drinking, all of which can cause harm to the fetus. I think a woman should subordinate her right to control her life when she decides to become pregnant or does become pregnant. Anything which might possibly harm the developing fetus should be prohibited and all things which might positively affect the developing fetus should be mandated under penalty of law, be it criminal or civil. Since anything which a pregnant woman does or does not do may have an impact, either positive or negative, on her developing fetus, any act or omission on her part could render her liable to her subsequently born child. While such a view is consistent with the recognition of a fetus’ having rights which are superior to those of its mother, such is not and cannot be the law of this state. A legal right of a fetus to begin life with a sound mind and body assertable against a mother would make a pregnant woman the guarantor of the mind and body of her child at birth. A legal duty to guarantee the mental and physical health of another has never before been recognized in law. Any action which negatively impacted on fetal development would be a breach of the pregnant woman’s duty to her developing fetus, Mother and child would be legal adversaries from the moment of conception until birth. If a legally cognizable duty on the part of mothers were recognized, then a judicially defined standard of conduct would have to be met. It must be asked, by what judicially defined standard would a mother have her every act or omission while pregnant subjected to state scrutiny? By what objective standard should a jury be guided in determining whether a pregnant woman did all that was necessary in order not to breach a legal duty to not interfere with her fetus’ separate and independent right to be born whole? In what way would prejudicial and stereotypical beliefs about the reproductive abilities of women be kept from interfering with a jury’s determination of whether a particular woman was negligent at any point during her pregnancy? Nevertheless, some argue that the drug-addicted pregnant woman should be treated as if her drug use is the same as child abuse and at least one state Supreme Court has apparently accepted that view. The Supreme of South Carolina, distinguishing itself from courts in twenty-four other states, has declared that at least inside the borders of South Carolina a viable fetus is a person and a pregnant woman who endangers its health can be found guilty of child abuse. The South Carolina court could not fathom the difference between a stranger who attacks a pregnant woman and the woman herself. The court argued if the fetus is not treated as a child under the law, then, â€Å"there would be no basis for prosecuting a mother who kills her viable fetus by stabbing it, by shooting it, or by other such means, yet a third party could be prosecuted for the very same acts. † The truth is that we do not have to pit the woman against the fetus to promote healthy pregnancies or to value life. In fact, creating fetal personhood hurts both women and the possibilities for healthier pregnancies. We could treat addiction for what it is, a health problem. We could fund programs designed to meet women’s needs not only during pregnancy, but throughout their lives because we value women as whole persons. We could respect people’s different values regarding fetuses without creating the legal fiction that fetuses are separate persons.

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