Personhood laws for foetuses - risks for all women of child-bearing age

(284 Posts)
DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 22:36:30

I can't say much about this in text because I am frothing beyond coherence, but given the muted response in FWR, I thought I'd see what the wider MN community thought about this not a DM article

Rational response (imho) here

phoolani Thu 06-Feb-14 22:41:21

You only need to look to America to see where this shit ends.

eurochick Thu 06-Feb-14 22:56:25

I would be stunned if this case were to succeed. The law in this country is pretty clear on rights beginning at birth and not before.

I would expect the judgment to say that a change of the law of this kind could only ever be made by Parliament.

DebrisSlide Thu 06-Feb-14 23:07:58

eurochick - please don't be complacent. The very definitions of men and women were changed in Parliament without anyone even noticing. (not a trans thread, I merely make that point to counter the "that'll never happen" argument)

TheHammaconda Fri 07-Feb-14 12:52:39

This is fucking scary. Most judges in the UK aren't that activist are they?

eurochick Fri 07-Feb-14 22:03:10

It's not a case of complacency. That comment was based on my knowledge of the legal system and how reluctant the judges are in this country to make new law on something that would normally be Parliament's remit. On that basis, I think this legal challenge is highly unlikely to succeed.

Parliament changing the law is an entirely different issue, and I don't doubt that is possible, but I would be surprised if any of the mainstream political parties would wish to pursue such a change in the law that would diminish the rights of 50% of voters.

ReallyTired Fri 07-Feb-14 22:10:29

There is no doult that foetal alcohol syndrome wrecks lives. However I don't think that women who drink heavily realise the damage they are doing to their unborn baby. Some women who drink heavily don't even realise they are pregnant.

DebrisSlide Fri 07-Feb-14 22:26:19

eurochick, but why do have that view when legislation has been already been passed so that men can have a vagina and women can have a penis? A really fundamental change in the law, yet with barely a mutter.

Case law, perhaps, is a slightly different matter, so I accept your point to a degree. However, anyone with any dealings with judges knows that there is no real telling how they will rule. Hence one of the reasons car insurance premiums are so high - perverse judgments that go into case law have made insurers extremely cautious in doing anything but settling 50/50 on anything but the most clear cut cases.

Besides, the prevailing "bad mother" viewpoint doesn't fill me with confidence. Isn't it true that sperm quality is affected by lifestyle choices? Is this going to be investigated and subject to court cases?

mousmous Fri 07-Feb-14 22:30:17

it's scary.
so I'm only a walking womb should it be filled with a few more cells than usual...

HumphreyCobbler Fri 07-Feb-14 22:36:28

I find this frightening too.

It's pretty much the case in Ireland. If you become pregnant you must remain so, because now you are no longer a person, only a vessel.

mousmous Fri 07-Feb-14 22:47:44

I can't get my head around ireland being able to do that being in the eu and all.

HollyHB Sat 08-Feb-14 16:08:48

Horrible, shocking.

I guess it all started with some judge wanting to award money to some poor damaged kid who undoubtedly needed and deserved to have money for essential medical needs. And wasn't going to get it any other way.

Forgetting that by perverting the law, as they do all the time (that's why they need secret courts), they are destroying society.

HollyHB Sat 08-Feb-14 16:09:57

Did I write "Forgetting"?
Uncaring might be closer to the mark.

CromeYellow Mon 10-Feb-14 13:08:07

Permanently disabling your child is repugnant and should be a crime, whether the abuse happened before or after birth. It makes no difference to the victim whether they are brain damaged (or otherwise harmed) as a result of their mother downing a bottle of vodka a day pre birth or having their head repeatedly slammed into a wall a month post birth, the horrendous consequences are something they will have to suffer for the rest of their life.

It's not a risk to 'women's rights' to hold women accountable for knowingly and willingly causing serious harm to their child pre birth any more than holding them accountable for their post birth actions.

Abuse is abuse and disabling a child is at the most serious end of it. Having a vagina does not excuse or entitle you to destroy an innocent child's life.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Feb-14 13:14:28


Don't you think that the mothers of disabled children feel punished enough? No one knows the cause of a lot of disablities and I feel that blaming the mother for any disablity is a think edge of a very nasty wedge. Would you jail a mother for eating brie or whatever food is on the banned list for pregnant women.

"It's not a risk to 'women's rights' to hold women accountable for knowingly and willingly causing serious harm to their child pre birth any more than holding them accountable for their post birth actions. "

I suppose that phase is easily written by someone in an armchair who has never met a child with FAS or their family. Often women aren't aware of being pregnant in the early stages of pregnancy. Would you honestly jail a woman who got drunk when she was four weeks pregnant?

Think about it!

HollyHB Mon 10-Feb-14 17:57:48

did you not read the guardian article then?

mousmous Mon 10-Feb-14 18:52:34

should men be prosecuted if due to drug consumation the sperm is of inferior quality and therefore leads to disabilities?
thought so.

80sMum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:02:48

It would be safest if all women of child bearing age limited their alcohol consumption to 1 or 2 units a week. That would eliminate the problem and would be better for the women's health as well as their children's.

NiceTabard Mon 10-Feb-14 19:12:38

grin @ last comment.

Really good way of showing up just where this stuff leads in terms of restricting women's freedom (which is actually what a lot of this stuff is about when it comes down to it).

Also bear in mind that for people who believe in FASD, any alcohol whatsoever is considered too high a risk.

Thus no women of child-bearing age should be allowed to have a drink, ever.

Clearly also it should be banned for women of child-bearing age to be treated for many medical conditions, be obese, smoke, undertake any form of risky sport, drive a car, eat soft cheese or rare meat, be stressed etc etc yada.

WooWooOwl Wed 12-Feb-14 17:33:37

I think it's fair enough tbh. I have close experience of FAS, and it has damaged a persons entire life.

I don't think women's rights are so important that society should basically say that it is fine for them to damage their babies and the pieces will be picked up for them.

FAS can be easily avoided, unlike having an lines or getting in a car or getting stressed. You cannot compare drinking too much alcohol to being treated for a medical condition.

pointythings Thu 13-Feb-14 13:14:58

80smum there is a huge gulf between 'limit your alcohol intake if you are actively trying to conceive' and 'never drink more than the tiniest bit because you might just be pregnant'.

The former is common sense, the latter is controlling and dangerous.

NiceTabard Thu 13-Feb-14 22:09:07

WooWoo really?

I see.

What about termination. Which pretty permanently affects a foetus, in a kind of, it's dead kind of way. Murder, right?

What is "an lines"?
Why is being stressed "easily avoided"?
Ditto driving?
What about hobbies that have an element of risk?
What about the "pre-pregnant" situation? If a woman is drinking heavily and does not know she is pregnant, and stops when she finds out, and the child has FAS, should she be imprisoned?
What does that mean for other women drinking who are "pre-pregnant"?
If the foetus has rights not to be damaged, then if a medication will help the mother but damage the baby, how can that be balanced?
Do we want to imprison women for these things? REALLY? How is that in the public interest?
If women who are addicted to a substance, or enjoy a risky hobby, or are too fat, or smoke, know that revealing their pregnancy to HCPs will mean a call to the police for child abuse, how will that impact on the care of those potentially high risk pregnancies in practice?

This is so much more complicated than "Oh well not drinking is a piece of piss"... And if that works then why are AA etc required?

There is also some evidence that older men are more likely to conceive children with various problems, or pregnancies which result in miscarriage (research in earlyish stages). Should older men who impregnate women be arrested for child abuse / domestic violence if the woman miscarries, or the child has any kind of difficulty? Should men who are older be barred from having unprotected sex due to potential pregnancy? As women who are "pre-pregnant" should limit their activities also?

Really it goes on and on.

Can't believe that people in the UK don't get why this is all such a problem.

I suppose this was a clue "I don't think women's rights are so important"... etc etc blah blah. Bodily integrity, not so important, for women, really.

NiceTabard Thu 13-Feb-14 22:11:15

Whoops "easily avoided" should be "not easily avoided".

Quangle Thu 13-Feb-14 22:31:44

Gaaah. This again.

A person's rights must be their rights. They cannot be contingent on another entity. The rights of women at some points become mixed up with the rights of unborn babies (if you believe that the unborn have rights which I don't but let's say you do). If you believe that they at some point might be in conflict then actually the logical, rights-based approach is to always give preference to the woman's rights over the baby. If women are the only route into the world for the human race, which they are, then they must take precedence over the million, billion, trillion unborn, nearly born, never born, never conceived humans and possible humans out there. Otherwise you end up arguing that cells trump actual existing humans and since we don't do that with men we can't do that with women.

Women must not ever be seen as vessels with the same rights but not quite as men. It's a very, very slippery slope.

FAS is an awful thing but so is toxoplasmosis and a thousand other things that I could "cause" to happen to my unborn baby. If you tell me I can't decide what to do with my own life and my own body, I will ask you to get this baby incubated in a test tube. Can't do that? Oh well then, you'll just have to put up with me and my messy, difficult, awkward humanity.

And woowoo I might choose to say that I don't think your rights are so important that society should allow you to do XYZ thing. And you'd probably object to that. Rights are not a thing you can pick up and put down as you fancy. You either have them or you don't.

NiceTabard Thu 13-Feb-14 22:38:56

Oooh good post.

<reverse stalks>

Quangle Thu 13-Feb-14 22:58:57

finally, a stalker to call my own grin

woowoo I understand how frustrating it must be for those watch the suffering associated with FAS. But the solution is not to de-humanise women.

pointythings Fri 14-Feb-14 08:30:33

Can I reverse stalk you too, Quangle? grin That was an epic post.

JanePurdy Fri 14-Feb-14 08:33:56

Great post quangle

DebrisSlide Sat 15-Feb-14 21:31:36

I'll tell you what, it's a sad state of affairs when a SAHM/WOHM (I imagine, I can't bring myself to read it) thread approaches 800 posts and this one languishes.

Women are fucked. Literally and metaphorically.

Back to the topic. If this makes case law, where does that leave abortion law? Do any legal types know?

There is no way a woman's rights as an individual should be be subject to the 'rights' of a fetus which is still part of her. It needs to be clear in law that it has no individual existence until it is born.

I get why some people will be horrified and I'm all for educating people on the dangers of drugs such as alcohol and on all health issues, but to assign any rights to a fetus means making women less than human.

I don't see how this case could be successful, but the logical consequence would be that abortion would be murder and any pregnant woman could be arrested for drinking, overeating, not exercising enough, working when pregnant - if her job might cause stress or injury, and so on. There would be no end to the consequences if the principle were established and pressure groups could be formed to add more limits to what women can do.

Since there are already those who would like women to be kept in their place there'd be no shortage of suggestions for controlling women further 'for the good of the child'

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 15-Feb-14 22:19:25

It wasn't barely a murmur, it was a hard fought victory to be able to change ones gender legally on paperwork without having to have invasive surgery. It still requires a long process of counselling and active living to do so and we still have only the gender binary recognised. When in some other countries getting any recognition or, for those who desire it, treatment requires one to be willing to be sterilized, it's wasn't a small thing & I recall it being discussed a lot at the time.

To give a fetus personhood is to give those pregnant less rights than a corpse who are not required to give anything to even improve someone's quality of life, let alone save it. No one can be forced to even give blood to save a life, let alone give over their bodies to another at the risk of their own lives. These things come up a lot, and many fight to get them shot down. Frustrating, but it is being fought, I doubt a forum is a good place to see how interested people are in an issue.

DebrisSlide Sat 15-Feb-14 22:33:18

There was barely a murmur. I lived here then, and was an avid newspaper reader. It only passed because the govt didn't think the populace was ready for gay marriage. So, bang goes the definition of man and woman.

So, now we reach an interesting position in legal terms. If this comes into case law, women who were born as women will finally have to sit up and take note.

A forum that is largely populated by women born as women who are of child-bearing age is not a good place to guage interest. What a bizarre statement. More bizarre is that there is little interest.

CouthyMow Sat 15-Feb-14 22:33:19

I am of childbearing age. I take heavy duty painkillers for arthritis. I also take epilepsy meds. If I fell pregnant, there is a chance that harm could happen to the foetus before I know I'm pregnant.

I don't intend to fall pregnant, in fact I am actively avoiding it . But it can still happen, given the fact that hormonal contraception is less effective when you take epilepsy medications.

Should I leave my epilepsy untreated and have no pain relief for my arthritis until I am outside of childbearing age (could easily be another 20 years, I'm only 32)?

If this made case law, that would be the potential situation for me, or I could be deemed as doing harm to the foetus if I fell pregnant.

And what about abortion? If it is harmful to take drugs that can affect a foetus, and is made illegal to do so, then surely that personifies the foetus, thus making abortion murder?

Ballsballsballs Sat 15-Feb-14 22:38:40

This is a very worrying development. It seems sometimes that women's rights are going backwards.

SoonToBeSix Sat 15-Feb-14 22:42:18

I totally agree , FAS is terrible and no one knows how much alcohol can cause it.
Being a mother involves putting your child first surely that should start in pregnancy.

DebrisSlide Sat 15-Feb-14 22:57:14

SoonToBeSix, are you of childbearing age? Do you drink alcohol/eat unpasteurised cheese/do "dangerous" sports?. Do you think you should stop those because there is a chance you might be pregnant and not know it?

SoonToBeSix Sat 15-Feb-14 23:13:23

I would be happy to take a test every month to make sure I was not pregnant and then abstain from those things yes.

horsetowater Sat 15-Feb-14 23:17:46

I would like to hear more about the legal implications of this. If it is a crime to drink when pregnant, is it a crime if you don't know you are pregnant? I'm fairly certain criminalising all women of childbearing age isn't going to do anyone much good.

It is a myth also that the first trimester is the most risky. More research is now coming out about teratogens having an effect at any stage.

It is absolutely horrendous that there is not more public information and research done, but hold on, there isn't 'because we can't do research on the foetus because it's a breach of human rights'. So pharmaceutical companies who add to the toxic chemicals our babies are exposed to have a grand excuse not to do more research and keep pushing them to pregnant women. Ignorance is bliss.

DebrisSlide Sat 15-Feb-14 23:20:31

How would that work? Surely you would have to abstain from all those things whilst there was a chance you might be pregnant? Otherwise, there's no point. You might have been doing that stuff and been a few weeks pregnant.

SoonToBeSix Sat 15-Feb-14 23:24:31

Possibly but I have always tested positive at before 4 weeks pregnant so its unlikely.
In terms of criminality I doubt anyone could be prosecuted for their actions before they could have realistically known they were pregnant.

horsetowater Sat 15-Feb-14 23:33:01

You could always add the disclaimer to say 'any women of childbearing age that have unprotected sex' or equally 'any man having unprotected sex with a woman who he knows has had a drink'. That would put a cat among the pigeons. Where will it all end?

It should never never had begun in the first place. Government guidelines have been absurdly wet and ineffective. In other countries it's an emphatic NO alcohol. Why faff about with the 'one or two units' nonsense?

I'm fairly certain that alcohol is probably the most toxic drug that anyone could put into their body when pregnant. The reason that you get drunk is because you are being slowly poisoned FFS. Not hard to put two and two together when you know the facts.

Opiates and nicotine work directly on the brain, a completely different mechanism and I would agree are far safer.

DebrisSlide Sat 15-Feb-14 23:40:00

No alcohol for whom? Any woman who may become pregnant?

nirishma Sun 16-Feb-14 00:12:47

I don't think we need to worry about this. The idea is so ridiculous that it will get quashed by the high court surely? Agree about the one to two units is safe guidelines stupidity. A ridiculous statement - each pregnant woman's metabolism is different from the next hmm.

Tories are going to lose the next election anyway and I'm sure Cleggers would do everything in his power to obstruct a bill being passed. Don't think there is time for a bill to be passed about this before the next election.

profilewithoutaname Sun 16-Feb-14 02:45:01

It's good to protect children, but this is scary. Because how can they prove that the physical problem comes from alcohol that the mother had during the pregnancy. And not something the child was just born with.

And did the mother really had alcohol and how much during the pregnancy? Only if someone has monitored her alcohol intake during the pregnancy they can say something about it.

And that these children have been taken away from their parents. Why? I'm pro protecting children, but against taking them away from their parents. Especially because the foster parents will get about 500 pound per child per week.

Most people will manage to solve their problems with that amount of money on a weekly basis.

It should be not accepted that a soon to be mother drinks alcohol, smokes and does other really unhealthy things during the pregnancy.

At the same time society should be more pregnant lady friendlier. Careful with a pregnant lady, giving up a seat and all of that.

During my last pregnancy some idiot walking right against me. Can happen, but I was high pregnant and all I got was a 'sorry' and that's it. He didn't check if I was ok, nothing. I was furious.

slightlyglitterstained Sun 16-Feb-14 02:59:42

I'd rather have to stand on the bus (even with SPD) than have my legal rights taken away.

There's a big difference between what's considered socially acceptable, and what should be legally enforceable.

This sort of change to the law is not about 'protecting children' in the least. It's about removing personhood from women and placing them under men's control and ownership.
There will always be plenty of bleating fucknuggets going 'Waa, waa, but you don't need to have a drink when you're pregnant' and completely missing the point. If you really care about The Children you could start by campaigning for better-funded, more accessible maternity care - lack of it leads to lovely cuddly 'innocent' newborns suffering and dying. You could maybe direct some of your attention to the frighteningly high indicence of domestic violence which starts during pregnancy, and the plight of babies born to women who have no money and are at the mercy of violent men.

And how much of 'Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder' is down to alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman rather than poverty, environmental pollutants such as car exhausts or overuse of 'antibacterial' household cleaners, or some sort of recessive-genes issue is completely unknown. Because it's easier and cheaper to blame women than to fund better maternity care and/or rein in the big coroporations peddling unholy chemical concuctions to wash your pants with.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 10:21:14

SGB alcohol makes you drunk because it pickles your liver, it is particularly harmful to the foetus by its mechanism. It really is a big problem, but not as big as sodium valprate, a drug used by hundreds of thousands of women of childbearing age despite having a neurological effects stastistic of around 50% when exposed in utero.

They are currently reviewing it (sv) in Europe, one of the questions is to look at the IQ of the mothers to assess whether that is a confounding factor. angry

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 10:25:20

And 8.5% major congenital malformations, they probably think that's due to the mother's lack of gcses as well. That is about 600% the background average.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 10:26:13

Profile, I can assure you that FC DON'T get £500 per child. My DD is in temporary VOLUNTARY FC right now, has disabilities, and her FC gets around £140 a week - which is barely more than the benefits I WAS getting for her, she's not allowed to work, and she HAS to give DD an allowance, and her own room.

I think you are misguided on costs. FC's are given tbh.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 10:28:49

Horse, don't get me started on Sodium Valproate, I could rant for hours. (Woman of childbearing age with epilepsy here...)

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 11:10:04

Don't rant Couthy, join Justice for FACS kids, we need as much help as we can get right now.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 11:15:15
CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 11:26:46

I was just 'lucky' that I was well informed, seeing as the local consultants lied to me about the tetarogenic effects of SV...and that was as recently as 2008/2009. I lost that baby due to something else anyway, (Chickenpox), but I swapped meds as soon as I found out I was pg!

Thing is, it could have been too late by that point anyway, he already had hypowhateveritis where the penis was malformed, and I stopped SV by 5 weeks.

But if he HADN'T been stillborn, who would have been able to separate out what was sodium valproate syndrome and what was varicella syndrome...?!

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 11:28:12

So would I have been charged for the SV syndrome issues, or would they have been unable to as varicella syndrome wasn't caused by me, other than the fact that I CAUGHT CP as I have no natural immunity to it despite having had it 5 times now...?!

JuliaScurr Sun 16-Feb-14 11:34:07

don't want to be an incubator

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 11:40:42

Of course it would all be your fault Couthymow. I always get asked about feelings of guilt. Feelings of anger yes, not guilt. They can't lay that one on me. I told members of the press after we lost the court case against the pharma that if it wasn't their fault, wasn't the medics fault, it wasn't an accident, then it must be ours. Cue deadly silence.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 12:01:12

Urgh. It WAS well known even in the late '80's / early '90's but consultants were PAID to hide it, and it didn't appear in the Patient Information Leaflet's until 2010...

There probably aren't any reliable stats on the incidence of SN four or five hundred years ago, when everyone drank beer all the time because it was cleaner than water. But, you know, the human race isn't extinct yet. And in the middle of the last century, pregnant women were encouraged to drink alcohol - Guinness for the iron, red wine 'for the blood' and generally because alcohol was supposed to prevent premature labour or something.

The brutal truth remains: you can be as obedient and self-denying as you like during your pregnancy and still have a baby born with problems of some kind. Faulty gene combination, accident or medical incompetence during the birth process, inadvertent exposure to something harmful in your workplace or home or just shit bad luck somewhere along the line.

There have always been plenty of people wanting women's rights and full human status removed or restricted, and it's always been pushed on the grounds that women have babies and that's the only important thing about them, it's what they're for.

So just think a minute about the idea that no woman of childbearing age should be allowed to drink alcohol in case it harms a foetus. That would include women who have chosen to be sterilized as they don't want children (or any more children), women who are celibate, women who are lesbians, women who have completed their families, women who are infertile... We are 'of childbearing age' for over half our lives, which is a fucking long time to spend being treated as potential incubators rather than people.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 16-Feb-14 13:00:16

I was living in the UK at that time as well and I recall a very different vocal conversation. Whether or not something is vocal will depend on what media one is exposed to and consumes as well as who one is around - just because one doesn't hear about it doesn't mean it's being hidden or ignored or not there even if one consumes a lot. The legal change was not really connected to gay marriage, even though the two are often interconnected, but about whether people needed to have invasive surgery - something many trans people wouldn't be able to have for other medical reasons even with gender dysphoria and many do not want it for many reasons - to be able to change their gender to the other side of the binary and have it legally recognised. As the gay marriage laws stand now, a person who did so and was already in a civil partnership or marriege would have to legally separate/divorce and do it again under the opposite system (because it's still wrapped up in the gender and sexual binaries), so the gay marriage laws haven't exactly thought about trans people.

The internet in general is a horrible place to gauge or research interest, there are too many other factors that would get in the way of any true numbers. Just because people don't click or comment doesn't mean they don't have any interest or aren't fighting for social justice and equality. Since this is a general website in a general news area (not the busiest area on the site), it's not a good source of gauging interest. Especially when considering that those actively fighting it may be doing more active things or want to relax by not talking about this if they've talked about it a lot elsewhere. Personally, I tend to avoid a lot of social justice talk here, I tend to do it elsewhere, unless I'm particularly up for it (and even then I tend to post and run because there are previous times it was a real energy drain)

And it's not women born women. It's women born as babies who are designated by their phenotype or the closest to by appearance or surgery (since intersex is not a legal designation within the UK).
Saying that other people are born one because of their apparent genitals and somehow becomes the other ignores a lot of people's life experiences for the theory that we are defined by our apparent genitals (which is part of patriarchy's binary system that needs to be challenged). Even with DNA testing there are so many questions about defining it as there are more than two sex karotypes, and there are those with XY chromosomes with typical female phenotypes due to androgen insensitivity syndrome, and so on and so forth.

The issue is that those who can or are pregnant deserve the same rights and anyone else alive who cannot be forced to give anything of themselves or give up anything to improve the quality of another person's life, let alone save or sustain it, and surely more than the dead who cannot be forced to give anything as well. This is being and will be fought. The discussion of this issue is also wrapped up in the concept that women are defined by this ability is a far larger social issue that needs to be deconstructed and fought as well outside of the current court battle to prevent the resurging of this issue as one of the many problems with this ideology.

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:06:37

I think most people are presuming this case will not succeed in court. I think I am.

Contemplating that it could succeed is too scary to think about.

Are people on this thread seriously suggesting that once females menstruate they must act as if pregnant at all times?! I am shocked.

pointythings Sun 16-Feb-14 13:52:21

I really want this case to fail, not because I don't feel sorry for children born with FAS but because of the implications. Firstly, how does it help a mother who MUST have problems with alcohol to be jailed? What good does it do her already damaged child? It isn't going to take the FAS away, is it?

Secondly, as mentioned by almost everyone on this thread, it reduces women to childbearing vessels who must always be considered potentially pregnant. The consequences of this are already being felt by women in the US. We must not follow that example.

I think it will fail because someone with influence will make sure it does to avoid the political consequences.

But the idea must not gain ground that the fetus is a member of the community and the woman is just the container.

I understand that it's already acceptable to refuse to sell alcohol to a woman who looks like she might be pregnant and even to a woman who has kids with her. Presumably because she might get drunk and fail to look after them properly.

I'd be ok with a blanket ban on alcohol, but all people must have equal rights and respect.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 14:11:29

AF - have you seen the paintings of Breugel's peasants? Facial features are very similar to FAS faces. And you didn't need an intellect to be a peasant, just physical strength. Alcohol IS very bad for the foetus.

I think it's stretching it a bit to use someone's painting style as proof of widespread foetal damage. Have you seen how people and things looked in Picasso's time?

If the danger is proven why is there not a call to ban all alcohol?. You'd think that would be an obvious move.

Not doubting that it is generally dangerous btw. Just that surely we've always known it was a poison for anyone and suddenly it becomes essential for pregnant women to stop drinking.

pointythings Sun 16-Feb-14 14:25:24

I think pregnant women should stop drinking. That's common sense. But putting them in jail for not stopping drinking is several miles too far. Women who are so dependent on alcohol that they find it difficult to stop when pregnant need help and support, not condemnation.

I also think that if you are TTC then you should consider your alcohol intake, but criminalising women who don't do this is beyond the pale.

Education and support are the key, not criminalisation.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 14:26:45

There ought to be a ban on alcohol really, it's not exactly good for you. A much higher price might be effective and a better medical alternative for those who use alcohol to self medicate.

Lol at Picasso's paintings - they all had fetal absinthe syndrome. Clearly.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 14:31:57

Anyway Breugel's faces are all different. Some people probably drank stronger mead than others. And it's a myth that everyone drank beer all the time, only those in cities would have, or those with limited access to fresh water, like the lowland Flemish. The highlanders would have had plenty of clean mountain water.

CoteDAzur Sun 16-Feb-14 14:32:28

"I think pregnant women should stop drinking"

I don't agree. Because:

(1) There is no evidence whatsoever that half a glass once a month for example does any harm to the baby

(2) Slippery slope: If it will be a crime for a pregnant woman to drink alcohol, what about coffee? Rare meat? Soft cheese? What about exercise in the 3rd trimester?

3) If the fetus is a person, then surely abortion can't be allowed at any point of pregnancy and for any reason.

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 14:34:53

Yes, refusal to sell Brie to pregnant ladies. Or ladies with big tummies a shop assistant thinks looks pregnant. That's definitely the way forward.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 14:39:05

Why criminalise WOMEN for drinking when they are potentially pregnant, or pregnant? Why NOT ban alcohol entirely?

Because that would adversely affect MEN, that's why...

TripTrapTripTrapOverTheBridge Sun 16-Feb-14 14:40:11

Personally I agree with it.

Any woman who knowingly puts her unborn baby at risk through drinking (which is usually heavy) should be held damn responsible!

Stuff the womans rights in those circumstances,the child does not deserve to have disability forced upon them by a poor excuse for a mother.

pointythings Sun 16-Feb-14 14:43:23

Good point, Cote. Let's go with 'Pregnant women, like anyone else, should limit their alcohol intake.'

FWIW I did stay off soft cheese - that was the hardest thing for me, far harder than not drinking. I also gave up fencing bouts after 16 weeks because an epee hit to the abdomen wouldn't have been a great idea - but it really has to be up to the individual and their personal sense of responsibility.

I definitely didn't give up rare steak - was veggie for the first 20 weeks due to intense sickness and not wanting meat at all, but afterwards went back on steak in a big way.

And point 3) is the most pivotal of all - we shouldn't risk our hard won rights to safe legal abortion.

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 14:44:11

You are anti abortion then I'm guessing trip?

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 14:51:37

“When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol goes across the placenta to the foetus via the bloodstream,” says Dr Raja Mukherjee who works for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. “The foetus’ liver isn’t fully formed, so it cannot metabolise the alcohol quickly enough.” At this stage, the baby has a high blood alcohol concentration. It therefore lacks oxygen and the nutrients needed for its brain and organs to grow properly. “White matter in the brain, which is responsible for speeding up the processing of information, is sensitive to alcohol,” says Dr Mukherjee. “So when a mother drinks, it affects the development of her baby’s white matter.” From

Cote D'Azur think this through. Would you deny your baby oxygen? That's what happens when you drink alcohol.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 14:53:14

What about a woman that knowingly puts her child at risk through prescription medicines? If the choice is extreme pain or no children? Where does it stop, trip?

I know the devastating effects FAS can have, and I'm the child of an alcoholic mother, who thankfully didn't give me FAS (through sheer fucking LUCK), but I still don't believe that criminalising the WOMEN involved is the issue - criminalise the ALCOHOL before you criminalise the woman IMO.

But that won't happen, because MEN of childbearing age see it as better to criminalise a woman for drinking when she might be pregnant than for THEM to have to go without alcohol for a large portion of their life as well.

I'm NOT espousing that it's in any way a good idea for a woman to drink heavily whilst pregnant, far from it, but either alcohol is legal and we have to deal with the effects of that, one of which is FAS, OR alcohol is illegal for ALL.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 14:55:22

As alcohol is that dangerous, then it should be banned. Wouldn't bother me, I only have 3/4 alcoholic drinks a year anyway. So it should either be so dangerous that it should be banned, full stop, for everyone, and criminalised for ALL, or we have to accept that a side effect if the legality of alcohol is that there will be cases of FAS.

CouthyMow Sun 16-Feb-14 14:55:57

There just should NOT be any difference between choices surrounding alcohol for men and women.

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 14:56:13

Where do antidepressants fit on this scale?

I have to take 75mg of aspirin a day in pg - something normally advised against. Am I and my consultant to be punished?

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 15:07:12

Exactly cow - same rule for both sexes or not at all. Alcohol does have an effect on spern quality and will have an effect on a MAN's ability to parent effectively too.

TripTrapTripTrapOverTheBridge Sun 16-Feb-14 15:11:08

No I am not anti abortion.That is different but I shouldn't expect this place to have people not ranting on about everything else.

Medication is also completely different.When on medication the best for an expectant mother is given.

Drinking (normally heavily) during pregnancy is an entirely selfish act that is not born of need.It is wrong,to put it mildly.

ChunkyPickle Sun 16-Feb-14 15:12:41

I'm not sure that I take the opinion of a doctor who advocated smoking cigarettes or cannabis when pregnant as preferable to drinking alcohol..

Multiple studies have shown no issue with light to moderate drinking during pregnancy (in fact one population study researching the impact of certain genes has suggested that light alcohol usage actually resulted in higher IQ in the children).

Multiple studies have shown smoking during pregnancy to result in low birth weight (and it also restricts oxygen), and low birth weight is associated with all sorts of greater risks for children.

It's irrelevant though. Body autonomy says that I get to choose what I do, and I don't have to choose based on whether I might be pregnant. I get to choose to drink when pregnant, to take long journeys in the car, to eat cheese, steak, sushi, to swim in rivers, have hot baths - just like every other human being.

TripTrapTripTrapOverTheBridge Sun 16-Feb-14 15:13:23

Oh ffs,the 'same should apply to men' mentality in this place really fucks me off.Shame you don't see things as equal when a woman screws up.'I hit my husband'...'oh no,you poor thing,what did he do to provoke you' <rolls eyes>

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 15:15:00

Drinking (normally heavily) though is open to massive interpretation. For someone who drinks on e a year when not pg the fact I had a few glasses of wine during pg could seem like drinking heavily.

Escalation once passing law on pg women is inevitable.

Abortion is a salient point - if you believe a foetus has a right to not have alcohol passed into its blood stream surely believing it has the right to live is not exactly a million miles away?

ChunkyPickle Sun 16-Feb-14 15:15:11

TripTrap - I disagree - if you're heavily drinking during pregnancy then you have a problem (just as if you are a heavy drinker and not pregnant), the problem needs to be treated, not criminalized.

I also disagree that drinking during pregnancy is normally heavy - everyone I knew was perfectly capable of sticking to a single drink.

pointythings Sun 16-Feb-14 15:16:27

Actually TripTrap if you were a regular reader of the relationship board you would know that no-one on there minimises a female poster physically abusing her DP/DH. That argument comes from ignorance, I'm afraid.

OrangeFizz99 Sun 16-Feb-14 15:22:47

trip - chauvinist women make my eyes roll back into my head. My mum is one, totally infuriating.

ChunkyPickle Sun 16-Feb-14 15:23:10

Not only that, but surely that argument supports the position here - ie. women and men should both be condemned for violence, women and men should both be banned from alcohol (or my preference, left to decide for themselves)

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 15:26:43

One of the issues might be that alcohol and its use is so prevalent in this society.

It's really unusual not to drink it. Very unusual and normally stating such a preference is met with incredulity, jokes, etc

I think if we are going to punish people for drinking while pregnant (possibly unknowingly) then we really need to look at the alcohol laws in general, and on a much bigger level, the way drinking is accepted or not within our culture.

I think there's a far bigger problem out there regarding alcohol than just whether pregnant women drink or not. And it isn't equitable to bring this all down on them when society almost requires an alcohol intake.

Trinpy Sun 16-Feb-14 15:44:12

I thought that too Chunky (about the pediatrician). I wonder how he came to that conclusion - I've certainly never heard of any reliable evidence that supports his opinion.

I don't think this idea of prosecuting women who drink heavily will ever really happen. The more you think about it the more ridiculous it sounds. If someone is so addicted to alcohol that they are harming their unborn child, I doubt the threat of prosecution is going to stop them. If anything it's just going to make them more determined to hide their addiction, which could result in an even riskier situation for the baby (and the mother). For the amount of money it would cost to enforce all this you could have put in place a better system which deals with the issues that have led to these women becoming so reliant on alcohol and helps them to quit.

Trip I'm also saying 'same should apply to men' and I am a man. Equality is important because it is right, but also because once you start allowing exceptions then you could be next to be deemed slightly less equal.

CoteDAzur Sun 16-Feb-14 20:12:51

"Cote D'Azur think this through. Would you deny your baby oxygen? That's what happens when you drink alcohol."

All the funny ones are out tonight grin

Do you even comprehend what would actually happen if a fetus' brain was "denied" oxygen?

I had the occasional champagne or half a glass of wine, not to mention a coffee pretty much every day when pregnant with DS. It must be because his brain was deprived of oxygen in the womb that he must be trilingual at the age of 4.

Thankfully, it is the easily excitable among us who make laws in the Western world.

horsetowater Sun 16-Feb-14 20:37:16

Cote d'Azur - You really think this is funny?

“The foetus’ liver isn’t fully formed, so it cannot metabolise the alcohol quickly enough.” At this stage, the baby has a high blood alcohol concentration. It therefore lacks oxygen and the nutrients needed for its brain and organs to grow properly.

CoteDAzur Sun 16-Feb-14 21:30:55

The hysteria is quite funny, yes.

Banging on about it isn't making it less funny. Though, it's making it kind of sad at the same time.

Do you know what would happen if a fetus was actually deprived of oxygen? Look up intrauterine hypoxia for enlightenment.

Funny enough, alcohol isn't listed as one of its reasons. Smoking is, though.

When I was about 8 weeks pregnant with DS, I got so blitzed on gin and red wine that I fell off my friend's patio decking and had the most magnificent set of bruises all down one side.

DS was not only born alive and well but is now on the Gifted and Talented list at school.

horsetowater Mon 17-Feb-14 00:11:31

No Cote, teratogenic substances really are not funny. They have ruined my daughter's life and the life of many many people I know. Now get back to your Champagne smugness with your genius child.

horsetowater Mon 17-Feb-14 00:16:56

You too SGB, get back to your decking and wine. Funny story, really hillarious.

My point is: there is clearly no direct, inevitable,causal link between drinking alcohol and damage to a foetus. It's just not that simple. Which is why the idea of banning women of childbearing age from living autonymous lives and making their own choices is wrong.

horsetowater Mon 17-Feb-14 01:32:11

The same of course would apply to smoking anyway if it did become law. So not only an alcohol related issue. There are always exceptions, nobody knows why not every child ends up with the same amount of damage but it doesn't mean the research isn't accurate. There are many many children suffering from the use of teratogenic substances, whether prescribed or otherwise.

I shall let you off my wrath this time as I made a bad taste joke earlier on and so I feel I'm being hypocritical and a bit sulky. smile

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 07:25:03

horse - How about we stay on is thread and you go if you are not happy with people posting views opposing yours hmm

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 08:20:51

I'm not convinced the case will necessarily fail. Damages have been awarded in the past to people who suffered damage due to their mothers taking medically recommended drugs during pregnancy so there is precedent for such a judgement.

Does anyone know if Thalidomide victims were found to be entitled to damages via the Courts or was it simply a drugs company settlement ? The fact that damages are awarded to the children and not the mothers would seem to suggest that the law does recognise the possibility that someone can be held accountable for damage caused to a foetus that goes on to be born.

I suppose the difference in this case is that we are talking about potentially holding the mother responsible for apparently reckless behaviour during pregnancy and for behaviour that is entirely subjective.

Much as I have sympathy for the sufferers, a judgement in favour of the children in the case would potentially open the floodgates for claims against women who did anything less than optimal during pregnancy and yes, potentially, prior to pregnancy. That is quite simply incompatible with the rights of women to bodily integrity.

And as for the hysteria about these bad women, the fact is that the majority of pregnant women do attempt to do their best during pregnancy but given the conflicting advice given out by the medical profession, is it any wonder that pregnant women are confused and misled ? To suggest that women wilfully and intentionally cause harm during their pregnancy is something that doesn't sit well with me and for the vanishingly small minority who act in ignorance, surely the answer is to better educate people and not to criminalise them. We're not that far from times where we sterilised women deemed not suitable for breeding - do we really want to go back there ?

Do we really want to punish women who continue to work during pregnancy for the risks they might encounter ? For perhaps unwittingly eating a food substance deemed to be a bit risky ? For indulging in dangerous sports ? How about for driving or flying during pregnancy ? The law cannot simply draw a line and say this is risky during pregnancy and this isn't. And would we punish women who happened to get away with risky behaviour ? Or just those whose risk taking resulted in actual harm ? Or do we stick with the logic that women who are pregnant are simply entitled to the basic premise that they have autonomy over their bodies and trust that the majority of women will do their best to ensure the safety and well being of themselves and their pregnancies.

How about we recognise that pregnancy is a risky and often dangerous process for women and their health, both mentally and physically and we support them instead of condemning them ?

And the other key thing is: a lot of women don't know that they are pregnant, early on in a pregnancy. Yes, plenty of women decide they are going to start TTC and embark on a regime of vitamins/folic acid/no booze etc, and then POAS every couple of days after a shag, but plenty of others are either in a zone where they and their DP/DH have decided to stop using contraception or have just got a bit indifferent to it as it doesn't matter whether she gets PG now or in a year's time.
And plenty of pregnancies are entirely unplanned. When I referred to getting drunk and falling over upthread, the fact I was holding back was, at the time, I had no idea I was PG. Hadn't been trying, had no intention of having children, my period was about a week late but I vaguely suspected I was perimenopausal, not pregnant, so had no reason not to drink if I wanted to.

OrangeFizz99 Mon 17-Feb-14 11:37:39

I think things around women and pg get so badly reported in the media.

The smoking quote around this case being reported is a great example. Maybe I'll swap my occasional glass of wine I normally have when pg for a big fat spliff during pg no 3 then?!

The other example was again alcohol and pg and it made me want to weep - the fascinating genetic/iq/alcohol in pg study was reportedly so terribly. Must be crap for scientists to have such interesting findings distilled down to hysteria for the masses.

Scary to see how many people on this thread would happily see women's rights reduced.
Actually really frightening

Yes solid but thats fine because any woman between the age of 15 and 44 can just stop drinking, eating brie and skydiving.
Small price to pay to ensure the health of any potential child. Maybe we could all just be sedated and hooked up to ivs for essetial nutrients and folic acid. Other tha n for the actual conception because that involves a man.

Right. Ok so those of us here (mainly) are in agreement; it stinks.

So, how do you complain? Who to? Things like this get my back up but I don't know what to do or who to.

Does anyone else please? I get fed up agreeing but not doing. So how do I do?

And in case I sou d flippant I will clarify

this is my life. I will live it. I will do what I want within the law and the consideration of those around me. That may at times include making decisions and doing things that others may agree with. It WILL NOT involve sacrificing ME to my children. And one of the main reasons for that is that I want my dd to have that attitude herself.

colleysmill Mon 17-Feb-14 12:09:46

Or the alternative Stealth is that <tongue in cheek> all women of child bearing age doing "risky" activities should just not have sex on the off chance they might be/might get pregnant.

Colley but what about the men? They have a right to sex.

colleysmill Mon 17-Feb-14 12:12:39

Tbh I can understand why the cases have been brought to some extent but the wider implications for women seem enormous

Ballsballsballs Mon 17-Feb-14 12:12:53

colleys that's certainly an option <wink> but would us pesky women be trusted to have told the truth?

Colleys I feel hugely sorry for the children affected. Its not fair and needs to be addressed. But making women lesser citizens is nkt the answer. Also assuming that women need to b e controlled. I doubt any woman - alcoholic or not - wants her child to s uffer. So why not start onthat premise and work from there?
(Sorry, ranting, know you agree)

colleysmill Mon 17-Feb-14 12:16:03

Ah yes well "Sorry dear I'm skydiving/indulging in a drink tomorrow" would replace "ive got a headache"!

NumptyNameChange Mon 17-Feb-14 12:25:53

it is insane.

can you imagine arresting a woman who is 12wks pregant for drinking? err but i'm having a termination tomorrow anyway. then what? she can be criminalised for drinking whilst pregnant with an embryo she can legally terminate the next day?

and what if the woman is an alcoholic? in the midst of a schizophrenic episode? manic? etc? does she get off on the grounds of diminished responsibility?

and if it is illegal to drink then the state surely has a legal duty to protect the unborn child - how would they enact that protection? lock the mother up? foot the bill for 24hr supervision lest they risk being sued themselves for failing to protect the unborn 'person' from a known risk?

no chance.

SomethingkindaOod Mon 17-Feb-14 12:40:57

You only have to look at cases in America surrounding personhood to see how scary this can get. Can't link because my phone is knackered but Jezebel tends to have a lot of articles on the subject.
Will have a proper look at the OP article later when I can get to a computer, but if I get the gist right it needs fighting at the highest level. It could only be the first step along a bloody scary road.

colleysmill Mon 17-Feb-14 13:14:51

I think that's the biggest issue for me Something in that it could be a very slippery slope.

It's a side issue but I was reminded of the controversy and debate around recent stories that have looked at mother rights vs those of unborn children in the media - the Irish lady who sadly died having been denied a termination and to some extent the lady who was unwell and had her baby by c section against her wishes (although iirc that was for her health not that babys but still it caused great debate on here)

And I do have enormous empathy for the children involved in this case and the people now caring for them and that provision needs to be made for their longer term care but I just can't help feeling apprehensive about what this might mean for all of us if its successful.

OrangeFizz99 Mon 17-Feb-14 13:18:58

Has anyone read Margaret Attwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'? Now, surely THAT would be a good solution. In fact, it is the logical conclusion.

Not read it, what is thw conclusion?

OrangeFizz99 Mon 17-Feb-14 13:39:59

It is a dystopian tale from the past (set with present day a long time in the future) where 'handmaids' are used to bear children instead of the wives (with sex done at a 'Ceremony' with the wives present) due to a very religious regime and falling birthrates.

If you could be prosecuted for how you act during pregnancy and you were wealthy, you would outsource, no? Then wealthy women could eat brie/drink alcohol/go skydiving whilst servants do pregnancy for them.

NumptyNameChange Mon 17-Feb-14 14:05:33

how about the financial recompense coming from the alcohol industry?

you can't have a situation really where you legally sell something known to be extremely addictive and destructive for significant portions of the population and then blame and criminalise those who have problems with it.

if people want to make billions from selling potentially fatal drugs then they need to pick up at least a significant part of the bill for clearing up their mess.

OrangeFizz99 Mon 17-Feb-14 14:12:06

Alcohol and tobacco duty rates make the UK quite a nice bit of income though...

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Mon 17-Feb-14 14:15:37

"Scary to see how many people on this thread would happily see women's rights reduced.
Actually really frightening"

This ^

AntiJamDidi Mon 17-Feb-14 16:27:18

I feel very strongly that women should not be held criminally responsible for damage to the health of their unborn child. I could potentially have been prosecuted for the 3 week bender I went on when I was 19 and split up with my boyfriend. I had no reason to believe I was pg, we hadn't had any contraceptive mishaps. I had no job, no responsibilities, so I went out with friends and got very drunk for about 3 weeks. When it dawned on me that I hadn't had a period for a while. (I have pcos so only have 2 or 3 per year normally so it took a while for me to notice) I was 16 weeks pg. Who knows the damage I could have caused to dd1, I was lucky and she's absolutely fine, but if she hadn't been fine I would have had to deal with that and prosecuting me would not have helped her at all.

I didn't know I was pg. Lots of people drink heavily when they aren't TTC and some of those women end up pg anyway. They should not be criminalized for doing the same thing as everyone else but just being unlucky enough to fall pg and unlucky enough to have their baby affected.

Women should absolutely have the right to live their lives however they choose within the law. Most women stop drinking heavily once they know they are pg and are continuing with it. If they don't then they probably have a big problem with alcohol and need more support in giving up drinking, criminal action against them is not going to achieve that is it?

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 17:11:24

I doubt whether there is any desire to criminalise women's behaviour during pregnancy but if this case succeeds, it sets a precedent for women being held responsible and thus potentially liable for damages for any harm done to a foetus.

Where do you draw a line after that ? And what does it say about how we value the lives of women against the unborn and potentially never to be born ?

Genuine question, and I hope this doesn't upset anyone
If a man punches a woman in the stomach and the baby is harmed (say stops growing and requires immediate delivery) would the man be charged for abh against the baby and mother, or just the mother?

or if someone spiked a pregnant woman's drink with a substance that is also harmful to the fetus?

Apparently there is something called the 'born alive' rule and you'll get lots of hits if you search for that. I'm still reading about it. For example:

born alive rule wikipedia

right, so it's qiute complicated. I suppose it must be.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 18:33:58

Stealth I would say that it would be the same as any other type of harm. So, if I cut myself, it is not illegal, if someone else cuts me it is. If I commit suicide (or try to) it is not illegal, if someone else kills me or tries to kill me, it is.

So I am allowed to do things like give blood, drink too much, donate a kidney, have a termination. If others try to do those things to me, it is illegal.

Thus I think that a woman is allowed to do things that might harm a foetus - as it is a part of her body - but others are not allowed to do those things to her.

Most people get that I think. That a woman should be legally allowed request and have an abortion, but that does not mean it should be legal for others to cause her to abort without her request etc.

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 18:35:10

Logically, and the only way to prevent criminalising women, is for any assault on a pregnant woman, to be considered an assault on her person.

That way, you can prosecute a third party for causing harm to the foetus/woman but would protect women in general as you wouldn't prosecute them for self harm.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 18:37:20

Which is where it went so wrong for that poor woman in the US.

Using a law which was intended to prosecute for violence against pregnant women, instead being used to imprison a suicidally depressed pregnant woman.

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 18:49:57

What worries me is that I genuinely think that if this issue was put to a vote, there would be a significant number of people who would actually think that it's ok to punish women for 'risky' behaviour during pregnancy.

It would say so much about how far from achieving liberation women actually are.

Epileptic, current non drinker.

Thinking out loud:
If I am advised by doctors that an anti epileptic drug is fine during pregnancy, I take that drug, and it causes harm to a foetus? Then, under English Law I do not have the mens rea/ intention - to harm the foetus and I can't be prosecuted/sued. The child's representative could prosecute/sue drug company, but not me or Doctor (if Doctor is acting on NICE guidance).

If I drink copious amounts of booze, not knowing I am pregnant, and then stop drinking when I find out - I would argue that without knowledge of pregnancy I couldn't have knowingly caused harm. Knowledge is an important part of most criminal and civil law isn't it? So, child's representative couldn't bring case against me?

But if knowing I am pregnant I drink heavily (just for an example) and child is born with FAS (and yes I have too much knowledge of this syndrome). Then damn right that child should be able to sue me for damages. I have caused them physical and mental harm. It was my choice to do that to them.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 18:57:17

I can't see any benefit to society whatsoever, of criminalising and imprisoning women who are addicts.

Quite aside from the insidious erosion of the rights that women have fought so hard for.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 18:58:53

And when you take it onto imprisoning women who eat some unpasterised cheese / a medium rare steak / goes skiing then you're in real trouble.

Plus of course the fact that it would mean abortion would have to be illegal (as killing a foetus is clearly the ultimate in damaging it).

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 19:02:42

And if you're pregnant knowingly and change the cat's litter tray and pick up an infection that affects the foetus, should your child be able to sue you ?

It's not about knowledge, it's about whether you caused harm and whether a reasonable person should have know that they were pregnant.

So if you're a woman of child bearing age and have had sex, then there is a possibility that you may be pregnant and so a reasonable person would act as if they were. Not knowing you were pregnant wouldn't be a defence. You should assume as a woman that you might be and act accordingly.

Therein lies the madness.

There has always been the ability to sue for damages for harm caused to a foetus that has been born and suffers ongoing harm - hence why there are so many medical negligence claims against the NHS for actions taken by HCP during treatment and monitoring of pregnancy and childbirth and I agree that logically if you can sue one party who caused harm, you should be able to sue the other but that completely ignores the unique situation that a pregnant woman is in and whether she should have autonomy over her body.

MrsDeVere Mon 17-Feb-14 19:06:42

So if this is passed into law do I get to sue the bastards who put my OH in the burning oil fields of the gulf and pumped him full of untested drugs?

Because my DD's cancer was caused by something and my money is on that shit.

Of course it wouldn't.

Because this law is not about the men.

It's been a hell of a long time since my law degree, and this isn't my area - but as far as a criminal prosecution goes it is all about knowledge isn't it? Knowledge and intention?

In tort - it can be about failure to act which leads to injury, but even then you've got to have a reasonable expectation of where your failure to act will lead to - foreseeability (Donohue v Stephenson).

Any law could only be drafted from the point in time when a woman had knowledge of the existence of a foetus.

You would end up on a kind of hell of circle of hell - perhaps alcoholic mothers refraining from using pregnancy testing kits? But then at some point it being fairly obvious to all they were pregnant? Also would it be a defence if the women tried to get help but the local NHS trust had no funding for rehab/specialist midwife addition services.

Horrifically complex. Nigh impossible to draft. But, if I was representing the child I would definitely want to give it a go.

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 19:26:46

Don't know about criminal law but knowledge and intent aren't necessary for civil claims for damages hence being able to sue for medical negligence.

There wouldn't need to be an argument that the woman knew she was pregnant, just an expectation that if she was of child bearing age and sexually active, then she should have been aware that there was a possibility that she was.

And then what about overweight women who go on to have problems with gestational diabetes that then affects the foetus for various reasons. Should those women be sued for not getting into condition before they got pregnant ?

Do we really want to go there ?

I'm sorry about your daughter Mrs DeVere, I've been a member for a long time and remember her illness and your loss well.

But the answer to your question is surely yes with proof? I know a law firm called Pannones was looking into helping children of soldiers, whose exposure to chemical weapons led to deformity (rather than cancer). I'm currently looking into a well know massive manufacturer in South Manchester, whose produce you can smell as you drive past. It's situated next to my parent's house. 28 people have died of cancer in my parent's street in the last 15 years. People in their 30s - 60s (Mum was 62 with no genetic history of cancer on either side of her family). It will be difficult/impossible to prove, and we are giving it a go. Class action is the best way.

Agree Blistory - civil claims = tort (reasonably foreseeable)


Diabetes, epilepsy, alcoholism -all recognised illnesses.

If you follow medical advice whilst pregnant with such illnesses, then you have no intention to cause harm so no crim prosecution?

Tort/civil? God knows? Defence again - followed all medical advice?

It might be thought that a woman chooses to be pregnant, but actually that's not really true. There are modern drugs and other means to actively prevent pregnancy which you can choose to use. Many of which have some detrimental effect so can't be compulsory and some means are actively forbidden by major religions so they can't be compulsory either.

Otherwise in the course of normal behavior you may or may not get pregnant. It can't surely be assumed that it was a choice. If not a choice then it's like being held responsible for the welfare of a squatter.

If your plan was to drink every night and go skiing every day and then you found that a fetus was occupying your body how could it become a legal requirement to stop doing those things and only act for the good of that fetus?

Perhaps you can sue the child (much later) for taking away your freedom. Something akin to false imprisonment.

I know no one looks at it that way, but it's no more ridiculous than this latest notion.

I can see what you're saying

I suppose I'm imagining a client coming in and saying:

1) I have a life long, life damaging, serious condition
2) I will need care/support for the rest of my life.
3) This condition was caused by Person A, who caused the damage by carrying out certain actions _knowing that it could/would/be reasonably foreseeable to cause me the harm from which I now suffer.

I'd want to help that client I suppose.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 19:48:02

I don't see the need to drink alcohol while pregnant. can people really not go nine months with out drinking alcohol. We all know what goes through our system, goes through theirs.

It's the same as smoking .

I gave up both.

It's selfish. When you 'choose' to have a baby why would you want to put toxic chemicals through them.

Would you put a shot of wine in their bottle? If study's show it can/does effect them why would you even risk it? confused

Turning a blind eye to medical advancement for your own needs is just selfish and stupid.

By the way this is coming from some one that watched a family member sink two bottles of wine every weekend although her pregnancies sad

It's my right to do what I want with my body - drink, drugs etc. But whilst I'm taking drink/drugs, if I cause an adult or child harm I will be prosecuted (drink driving/neglect)

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 19:54:01

And how many women would have the funds to meet such a damages claim ? Or should we just be sending them to jail ?

Should we now insure ourselves against possible harm that might be done to future foetuses ? Should I get regular blood tests to ensure I have no deficiencies which might result in a less than optimal pregnancy ? What if I forget to take the folic acid prescribed ?

How do you prove which drink it was that caused the harm ? Was it the one that the woman had when she was 8 weeks pregnant and didn't know or the occasional glass of wine during the third trimester ? How are you going to prove it when all the medical advice is so vague and changes, possibly during the course of a pregnancy.

I have to go now as haven't got on with work. But I just wanted to say that I'm in a quandary, as on one hand I don't believe a foetus is a person, and I am pro-choice.
But I don't see this as personhood law - I think I view it as a right to sue someone who has knowingly caused you damage. And you are only able to sue when you are actually a person - when you've been born, grown and become aware of the damage that has knowingly been done to you.
For me - knowledge (crim prosecution) or reasonably foreseeable (tort) are key words. But a better woman than me with much more up to date knowledge of practice might set me straight.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 19:58:41

The stupid thing about this is that it is only being done because it is a way of accessing compensation. Without consideration as to the potential / consequences for all women as a result.

It will put something into law which would mean that there wasn't much ability to argue that abortion should be legal, for example.

Children who are ill / require additional care should, in a society like ours, get it. It should not only be available at the cost of hard-fought women's rights.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 20:00:48

It's not about being able to sue the person (ie the mother in this case). It is about being able to get compensation via the pot of money in the criminal compensation fund thingy. Which is for people who have been victims of crimes. If it is allowed, then logically the women have committed crimes, and those crimes must be enshrined in law and prosecuted as is the custom in our society for acts that have been deemed criminal.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 20:02:17

And there should be no differentiation for harm due to alcohol, smoking, eating a soft cheese, playing a sport or anything that has the potential to interfere with a pregnancy / foetus.

Any other position would just be wildly illogical.

plantsitter Mon 17-Feb-14 20:19:50

There are some great posts on this thread and I don't think I can better them but I think this erosion of women's rights is utterly appalling.

Wanted to add my voice to those who are hoping this law doesn't sneakily get through. What I think of drinking alcohol in pregnancy is irrelevant; my right to do what I damn well please to my body is crucial.

plantsitter Mon 17-Feb-14 20:22:26

There are some great posts on this thread and I don't think I can better them but I think this erosion of women's rights is utterly appalling.

Wanted to add my voice to those who are hoping this law doesn't sneakily get through. What I think of drinking alcohol in pregnancy is irrelevant; my right to do what I damn well please to my body is crucial.

Quangle Mon 17-Feb-14 20:38:47

I don't see the need to drink alcohol while pregnant

No. I don't see the need to drink alcohol either. Or coffee. Or eat sweets. Or eat salad that hasn't been washed in disinfectant. Or take any flights. Or eat anything other than what the dr prescribes. Or spend time around young children who may have chickenpox or CMV. And actually it's not just children who can pass these on so I'd best not take public transport for 9 months. Much better to sit at home incubating this baby without taking undue risks. So really the best thing for pregnant women to do is to check into a pregnant women farm where all we do is incubate future generations in perfect conditions.

Fraxinus Mon 17-Feb-14 20:46:14

The stupid thing about this is that it is only being done because it is a way of accessing compensation. Without consideration as to the potential / consequences for all women as a result



I think that law moves slower, usually in reaction to a shift in culture/norms than perhaps is being envisaged here.

There is no way Court of Appeal will find in Rochdale's favour (am on phone so can't check if that is right council). It will be for Parliament to decide and I've heard no inkling from any Party on this.

However, I think, in certain cases a child should be able to sue parent/ state prosecute a parent. No, not cheese eating, or a quick jog round the park. But drink? Yep. Drugs? Yep. Mother has utmost freedom to do as she pleases - that is her choice. But if her choice has an adverse consequence to her child, child should be able to do something about it. In same way that if you abuse/neglect a kid during its childhood, you have to face consequences of your choices.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 21:00:13

Exactly what Quangle said.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 21:07:03

"if her choice has an adverse consequence to her child, child should be able to do something about it"

Slippery slope >> You didn't eat enough fish during pregnancy. If you had, your child would have been smarter. That is an adverse consequence. Should he be able to sue you?

Forget prenatal obligations, let's talk about early childhood. You didn't read enough to your child, take him to music lessons, teach him Mandarin. Now he is behind his peers who play violin and speak three languages. That is an adverse consequence. Should he be able to sue you?

MrsDeVere Mon 17-Feb-14 21:13:04

notbloody every so often I google for information on children born to GW veterans.
There is a ton of stuff on the massively high level of childhood cancers in the region. The level of birth defect is also horribly high.

I haven't really come up with much. I think it will come out in 50 years. I am not a conspiracy theorist normally but I don't trust the powers that be to allow this information to see the light of day.
There have been cancers in veterans and compensation paid but even that has been kept v.v. quiet.

DD's cancer was one of the most common. I know I would have a hell of a job proving it had anything to do with what her DF was exposed to preconception.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this thread. One day the truth will come out. I am sure.

Good luck with your work.

I don't think I am buying the slippery slope of ingress into English women's rights - not under current political system. (Am angry about legal aid at mo, and have demonstrated, but don't view it as direct attack on women as it also affects men).

Yes, just keep it to "injury" as defined by tort, which would include FAS. If you cause "injury" intentionally or with reasonable foresight to a foetus, then when foetus is person, that person has a right to be pissed off at you?

To you too, Mrs Devere. If I had a faith, I would say your DD is in my prayers. But I lost my little slither when Mum died, so instead, she's in my thoughts.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 21:40:03

" If you cause "injury" intentionally or with reasonable foresight to a foetus, then when foetus is person, that person has a right to be pissed off at you?"

I have the right to be pissed off that it rained during my wedding. Can I sue the weather? No.

Let's talk about "injury".

You had CVS early in your pregnancy, due to which your baby was born with damaged hands & feet. Should he be able to sue you for having asked for this procedure?

You neglected to take your folic acid supplements during pregnancy and your child was born with spina bifida. Should he be able to sue you?

Going too fast! Can I come back to your examples when you've done mine? Drink and drugs, taken with knowledge of possible consequences to foetus, which the unfortunately occur?

Foetus becomes person has suffered injury due to actions of other person. Why can't they sue?

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:06

cote it's not the same. you willingly consuming something that has no nutritional value and can be potential damaging,just for the sake of it. You choose to be pregnant and if your going to keep it you should bloody well look after it! If you can't go dry for nine months you have got issues !

quangle why dont you spark a fag up as well as it's all bollocks about that too isn't it. hmm

Clearly scientists and doctors tell lies. They just want to spoil your fun. Hell your not an incubator your a free thinking woman that do what the fuck she wants!! Who cares if your growing a central nervous system or any other important organ - if You want to drink you will do! Yay go sistas!!!!!

It's all lies and the world is flat!!!

Don't have kids if you wanna get pissed all the time. Simple.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 21:58:43

Getting pissed while pregnant - raining on wedding day ? hmm really ...... Your waaaaaay of mark if you even think there is a comparison .

Maybe it's because your fundamentally selfish.

Mishmashfamily, if someone was in court for say horseriding when they were pregnant and causing some damage, on what legal basis would that be ok?

See, it's no good thinking "oh but common sense says that's different from drinking". There has to be a clear legal difference.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:03:03

Mish - It is the same. Pregnant woman makes a conscious choice, knowing that there is a risk to the baby - signs on the CVS form or does not take folic acid. Injury to baby results. It is exactly the same thing as what you suggest should be criminalised.

"you willingly consuming something that has no nutritional value and can be potential damaging,just for the sake of it"

Oh consumed something with no nutritional value, how dare I? hmm

Everything can be potentially damaging - crossing the street, riding a bike or a car, eating salad/soft cheese/rare meat... How about walking down a dark alley? You knew you could get mugged. So it is your fault that your tummy was hit & you gave birth prematurely, causing your baby to have damaged lungs.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:08:27

I didn't say that getting pissed while pregnant is the same thing as rain on wedding day. Maybe you need to read posts more than once to properly understand them.

"Your waaaaaay of mark if you even think there is a comparison . Maybe it's because your fundamentally selfish."

Ah, personal attack - the last resort of the wrong and the weak-minded smile

By the way, you mean to write "you're" in the two sentences above. It may help to write "you are" for a while until you get the hang of when to use "you're" as opposed to "your".

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:10:03

Oh consumed something with no nutritional value, how dare I?
So basically you want to get pissed so sod the baby ? Why would you even have a baby if you feel like that?

Can you actually not give up drinking for nine months ??

You can over generalise all you like cote the fact is still hidden there is all your huff that you can't give up the booze for nine months.

Go and see some one if it's an issue love.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:12:55

I have the right to be pissed off that it rained during my wedding. Can I sue the weather? No I'm taking that you wrote that???

If you did, your suggesting that they both have the same value

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 22:13:18

I am unsure why people keep talking about this being about the child suing the mother.

This actual case is about carers being able to access compensation via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This is for people who have been victims of crime.

If an action (or failure to act) by a woman when pregnant leads to some kind of injury to the child which is deemed eligible for this compensation, then that means that the action (or failure to act) was a criminal offence, and thus the women who committed it must be prosecuted.

So when women have babies, if there is something wrong with it, that can be linked to an action or inaction on the part of the woman, then she is a criminal and needs to be treated as such. The punishments for people who injure children are quite severe I think? So prison.

Also, clearly abortion would need to be illegal. You don't get much more severely injured than dead.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:13:26

No, "basically" no such thing. I didn't say or insinuate any such thing. This is not about what I can or can't do. It is about what can be a criminal offence and what cannot.

If you had read the thread, you would know that I gave up alcohol completely during my 1st pregnancy so clearly I can survive without it for 9 months. (More actually, as I didn't drink during breastfeeding, either)

By the way, after ad hominem you have gone on to straw man. If you continue at this rate, you can aim to run through the complete list of Logical Fallacies in the next hour. Good luck smile

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:19:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:19:34

" 'I have the right to be pissed off that it rained during my wedding. Can I sue the weather?' No I'm taking that you wrote that???
If you did, your suggesting that they both have the same value"

Oh dear. We have an English comprehension problem.

notbloodybranson asked "If you cause "injury" intentionally or with reasonable foresight to a foetus, then when foetus is person, that person has a right to be pissed off at you?"

I answered this by pointing out that there is a difference between having the right to be pissed off and having the right to sue. The sentence you are quoting gives an example where the person has the right to be pissed off but can't sue and is obviously meant to contrast being pissed off with being able to sue, which can happen when a crime has been committed.


By the way, you still don't know when to say "you're". I suggest you take my earlier advice about using "you are" until you understand where "your" and "you're" are used.

MrsKCastle Mon 17-Feb-14 22:21:14

Just wanted to add my voice to the thread and say how shocked I am by this case. It's very scary to think that women could be criminalised for taking decisions about whether or not to have an alcoholic drink. And then, by extension for not eating the right things, taking risks etc.

It's very worrying, for all the reasons given above.

pointythings Mon 17-Feb-14 22:21:36

Mishmash way to miss the point there, and patronizing too... The point is - where do you stop? Zara Tindall rode way into her pregnancy. If she had had a fall, should she have been criminalized for it? I fenced bouts until 16 weeks and did footwork/bladework until 34 weeks - if either of my DDs had had birth defects should I be blamed for having exercised? At which point do YOU think women should give up autonomy? This is NOT just about alcohol, it is about freedom. If you cannot see that you either think the US way of dealing with 'personhood' is just fine or you are very naive.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 22:23:19

Another interesting one.

If you / your partner have a disease or ailment which is definitely / probably hereditory,

Should these rules apply, if you have a child? If you have a child and it inherits that disease / problem / propensity to have a problem, then that is injurious to the child (now, or later) then should that also be a criminal offence?

If not, why not. Is the question some of you need to be asking yourselves.

Everyone's like oh well but this is OK, people have to do that, such-and-such doesn't count. It's just DRINK to get worked up about. Ask yourself why that is. If the child has a negative outcome, it has a negative outcome. The reason for the difference is because of people's ideas about how women should be, and punishing them when they don't behave that way.

Blistory Mon 17-Feb-14 22:24:40

Lets not lose sight of the fact that the majority of pregnant women do put the foetus first. They carry out risk assessments all the time.

To suggest that we criminalise those who get their risk assessment wrong is absurd, especially given that those risk assessments are based on continually changing and contradictory medical advice.

To suggest that women simply don't care and are recklessly risking their babies for their own fun is a trite argument and not worthy of discussion, imo.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:25:42

I'm sorry you thought I attacked you. I was being helpful. Every day is a school day on MN, as is often said.

There is indeed far worse than "snotty grammar pointing out" [sic] to devalue a poster around here. This, for example:

"maybe all the booze has muddled your brain or maybe your mother was a drinker???"



pointythings Mon 17-Feb-14 22:26:24

And mishmash dear... Cote was quoting you when she made the 'error' you pointed out. Labelling her as 'wanting to get pissed' when she says she had half a glass of wine does not help your cause either. Please stop it with the ad hominem attacks and address the very many ethical questions raised in this threads.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:26:31

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:27:09

Exactly, NiceTabard.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 22:28:36


Christ, how many times do I have to say this?

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:29:03

Oh cote with your P.A , stop it now, you really are a MN bingo master!

Bye your self


CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:29:09

Mish - You are beginning to sound unhinged.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:30:36

NiceTabard - I understand that now, thanks for the explanation.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 22:33:20

Unhinged - bingo ,Jesus !

Waiting eagerly for...

Boils my piss.
Sick in my mouth

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 22:34:14

grin cote

Mishmashfamily, you certainly may post whatever you like and there's no requirement for it to be coherent. There's also no requirement for you to have any understanding of the actual issue here. You may simply string words together in an approximation of english until you get tired of pressing the little buttons.

Just don't expect anyone to take you seriously unless you engage with other posters regarding the pros and cons of such a law change.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 22:47:52

BOB grin

I'm off to bed. Maybe tomorrow there will be someone on the other side of this fence we can debate with.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 23:17:47

bob where in my post was incoherent ?

What's with the passive aggressive if people don't agree with you?

And I do have an understanding off the issue.

When you are pregnant you have a moral duty to protect the life you want to grow. It takes nine short months.

If you undertake activities which have a high chance of harming the baby then that's selfish.

Yes drinking caffeine has it's risks and there are advice guidelines but you really can't compare drinking coffee to drinking wine.

Crossing the road is dangerous but drinking vodka is even more so.

Mishmashfamily Mon 17-Feb-14 23:20:53

Laws need to be put in place because as usual people abuse their right to an alcoholic beverage.

I'd rather 100 pissed of pregnant woman because they can't have a glass of wine to one poor child that has been brain damaged.

5madthings Mon 17-Feb-14 23:28:08

I find this terrifying. As a woman my right to bodily autonomy is very importsnt to me. This could be the start of very slippery slope.

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 23:39:57

"If you undertake activities which have a high chance of harming the baby then that's selfish."

Well it may be selfish (that is another debate), but this thread is about whether it should be criminal.

Do you think that women who "undertake activities which have a high chance of harming the baby" should be prosecuted?

Abortion has a VERY high risk of "harming the baby". 100%, if done properly. A criminal act?

NiceTabard Mon 17-Feb-14 23:40:31

Yes 5madthings it is fucking terrifying, and more terrifying that there are people including women who are all for it.

MrsKCastle Mon 17-Feb-14 23:49:10

Mishmash, you CAN compare drinking coffee to drinking wine. They can both harm the foetus. Where is the difference? A matter of degree? Well, which is worse- the woman who drinks 10 cups of strong coffee a day, or the woman who has half a glass of wine every month? Or is it the woman who goes rock climbing in the first trimester? She is knowingly putting the foetus at risk, after all. You are trying to draw lines where none exist.

You would prefer 100 pissed off women to one damaged child? Ok. How about 1000 pissed off women compared to one child who may have a very mild disability which may possibly be attributed to a decision that the woman made while pregnant? Still better not to risk harming a child? Well, where do you draw the line? Would you like to draw up a list of 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' risks for a pregnant woman to take?

What if the pregnancy is unplanned and unwanted? If the woman decides to terminate, does she get back her right to autonomy? What if she then changes her mind- maybe she discovers that she's further along than she thought.

The only possible way to avoid the slippery slope (where women of 'child-bearing age' lose all rights) is to accept that the foetus does not have rights, and is not a person until it is born.

5madthings Mon 17-Feb-14 23:52:55

Totally agree nice and it s terrifying that other women think it would be ok that we should lose bodily autonomy in this way.

Sorry but my rights wil aways trumo that of a fetus, when I chose to be pregnant I made choices I was hapy with but I will be damed if anyone dictactes or legislates what I can and cant do with my body whilst pregnant.

The sitation in amerca is awfulnwith the eroding if womens rghtd t abortion, and then there is the appaling situation in Ireland.

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 00:01:53

<nods> @ 5madthings post.

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 00:05:40

It;s a branding thing. A positioning? DO YOU WANT BABIES TO BE ILL AND HURT?

Well of course you don't. Therefore, anything I say to STOP babies being ill and hurt is fine.

Now, interestingly, the only things I am going to mention that MAKE BABIES ILL AND DIE are to so with WOMEN doing things that I DON'T LIKE. I am not going to mention things that women do that I don't have a problem with, even if they harm of kill babies, and I'm not going to mention men and the part they have to play (eg old sperm = miscarriage = DV??????) in ANY of this. Because you can't restrict the rights of men no sirreee bob.

It is all just a massive crock.

5madthings Tue 18-Feb-14 00:17:37

God, apologies for crap typing, I have spent all day and evening dealing with vommiting children and I am tired and have had a drink to help me cope with the stench of puke... plus this samsung tablet is crap.

Anyway I find it worrying not only that some women agree with thiskind of draconian idea of controlling women nd removing their bodily autonomy but also that so many women are so passive and uninterested in tge issue. And the lack of media sttention its been given, if this case is won then its a huge case in test case law and should be a cause for concern for every woman in the uk.

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 00:22:39

If this case goes through then it opens the door for abortion being criminalised, and any woman who gives birth to a child which is not "optimal" being imprisoned.

People might see that as exaggeration or rhetoric. BUT actually a lot of people would actually really like that (see recent news from some US states) and that is super-worrying.

It could happen and this would be the first step.

The actions of men in this are never mentioned, at all.

horsetowater Tue 18-Feb-14 00:46:43

You can take a case of 'wrongful birth' at the moment which is if someone is at fault for not allowing you to terminate a pregnancy you would otherwise have terminated. So a faulty amniocentesis result or the failure of a drug.

Women still have, and should have, ultimate control of their bodies and the baby does always have to come second. Most women will put their babies first and for those that don't, generally it's their problem later on if things go wrong. Responsibility and accountability has to lie with the mother and those responsible for her well-being.

A child can sue a parent for making them obese, but not for giving them fetal alcohol syndrome because they weren't a 'person' when the damage took place. A child should be able to sue the state for not protecting them when they were unborn. The onus should be on the state health and social services really.

NumptyNameChange Tue 18-Feb-14 07:36:44

i don't get the logic whereby someone said that they didn't think a parent should be sued for eating the wrong cheese but drink or tobacco absolutely.

that is so arse about face.

it's easy not to eat cheese - we don't have any literal unpasteurisedcheeseoholics nor is it a recognised medical condition.

we do have alcoholics and we do have people addicted to nicotine - we as a society choose to sell these highly addictive substances knowing they will have a lot of victims. an alcoholic or smoker who has been trying to give up their addiction for years but is unable doesn't suddenly upon seeing a line on a pregnancy test become a different person who by the magic grace of the madonna of fertility can suddenly be cured of their addiction.

if there are damages to be had then it is not the victim of the substance who is to be looked to but the dealer! in this case the tobacco and alcohol industries and the state that allows them to legally operate despite knowing the damages.

and if the woman is an alcoholic who has been begging to be sent to rehab but is in a pct that doesn't fund it? she can then say they are responsible and they can be sued. or perhaps the alcoholic woman who shared that she was having black outs and engaging in risky behaviour can sue her gp for not making her have weekly pregnancy tests. it is a ridiculous avenue to go down not ONLY for women's rights (though that should be enough for anyone who doesn't want to end up living in a dystopian novel) but also for the implications of potential legislative action and the effects that come of trying to avoid being sued by patients for example.

NumptyNameChange Tue 18-Feb-14 07:41:57

and what of the person who impregnated the addict? they have caused an embryo to grow in an unsafe incubator (know thy place woman). will they be sued to? perhaps it could become illegal to have sex with vulnerable women to protect the potential child? reckless insemination of life giving sperm?

it is a nonsense. we can't even effectively tackle men fucking trafficked women and drug addicts but what we'll then prosecute those women for being impregnated by these punters and pimps?

NumptyNameChange Tue 18-Feb-14 07:45:43

the context really does matter. we have judges letting off groups of men for gang raping minors. will the minor then be criminalised for drinking white lightning to dampen her trauma because they managed to impregnate her in the process?

if amnesty get their way it will be legal for men to prostitute women, if the man fucks the crack addict without protection who is clearly an emotional and mental wreck and impregnates her he'll have done nothing wrong but she can be sued for continuing to be a crack addict?

Beachcomber Tue 18-Feb-14 08:42:41

The vast vast majority of women adapt their behavior to pregnancy and do the best they can to look after themselves and the fetus they are supporting.

Women who drink alcohol to the point of giving birth to a baby with FAS, are women with problems. And those problems have a source - most likely society; poverty, lack of education and support, childhood issues, DV, etc. And alcohol is legal, readily available, relatively cheap, and a good tax earner so it is hardly surprising that people with problems abuse it. To criminalize individual women for societal problems is misogyny. And what about the fathers of these children? Are they to be criminalized too? Children have two parents - surely it would need to be a crime for a man to have PIV sex with a woman who drinks heavily? What was he thinking potentially impregnating a woman who has a problem with alcohol? Where is his responsibility in all this?

Much as we may all see the utter injustice for a child living with the consequences of FAS, we cannot award all women of child bearing age the status of incubators. This is an erosion of hard won rights, and open to abuse by those who wish to control and subjugate girls and women via our reproductive rights.

A case like this has the potential to change the legal status and rights of all post pubescent girls and women even though only a very small number abuse alcohol during pregnancy (and the solution to that is not to criminalize).

Attempts to subordinate girls and women often ride on the back of 'but we must think of the children' rhetoric.

OK, so if we are thinking of the children then hold the fathers responsible too for not stopping the mother from drinking or for not being around to stop her, or not getting her help. Or for getting her pregnant in the first place. Yeah, let's prosecute men who can't refrain from putting their penises in women with substance abuse issues...

Gets worse snd worse. Women as human sacrifice to the next generation.
Mishmash love quit it with the personal attacks, love

NumptyNameChange Tue 18-Feb-14 12:35:29

i think some women lack the ambition to be seen as actual full, whole human beings and decide the shortcut of being 'better than other women' is an easier way to fake self esteem.

they'll quite happily play scapegoat and say yes, it's 'those' women, but look at me i'm respectable and decent, i'm a wife, i didn't sleep around, i'm a good girl (have a badge) and so i'll be alright. you won't. you don't get a promotion to human being status simply for learning to sit and beg on cue and turn your nose up at dogs with poor recall skills.


SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Tue 18-Feb-14 14:00:26

I agree Numpty! I find it astonishing and quite depressing that in 2014 there are still women who not only don't see themselves are fully paid up members of the human race, but also expect the rest of us to consider ourselves second class citizens too.

A lot of people are sentimental and not great at logical thinking. It's a mixture of' Isn't it terrible that some babies are born with preventable disabilities' well-meaning dimwittery and quite often a kind of muddled, unacknowledged magical thinking on top -' If I not only do EVERYTHING i'm told but also scream and howl about the wicked selfishness of other women, my babies will all be fine.'

And the poster who would rather have 'a few pissed off women denied a drink' than FAS in a single baby - My position is I'd prefer a few hundred or so dead or damaged foetuses than every woman in the country/the world reduced to the status of a breeding animal with no human rights.

I also support abortion up to the moment of birth. To save you the bother of asking.

Mishmashfamily Tue 18-Feb-14 15:40:25

Words fail me gold just awful

5madthings Tue 18-Feb-14 15:47:24

I agree with solidgold and actually in Canada abortion is allowed up to term. Oddly enough it's something women rarely choose unless necessary. It seems to work well in Canada.

Why limit a woman's access to abortion? We deserve and need bodily autonomy.

As it stands the current abortion laws in the UK are disability.

I believe women are able to choose what is best for them and their circumstances 're abortion, it doesn't need legislating other than to ensure it is safe.

5madthings Tue 18-Feb-14 15:49:10

Is late term abortion unpalatable...yes but just because I find it hard to think about doesn't mean other women should be denied it. Their body, their choice.

OrangeFizz99 Tue 18-Feb-14 16:38:47

Do you have a daughter mishmash?

SomethingkindaOod Tue 18-Feb-14 18:19:30
The article is from last March but illustrates a personhood law passed in America. Strangely one of the comments underneath references A Handmaid's Tale as well.

spindoctorofaethelred Tue 18-Feb-14 18:22:45


Ha ha ha you have just done the same, maybe all the booze has muddled your brain or maybe your mother was a drinker???

Don't you dare pretend to be concerned about the families of disabled children elsewhere on MN, when you happily use disablist insults. Don't you fucking dare.


GoofyIsACow Tue 18-Feb-14 18:36:39

I have come to this thread as a result of MishMash's TAAT regarding SGB.

Reading the other thread the comments sound horrific, having read this I agree with SGB and wholeheartedly agree MM that your other thread is totally out of line.

pointythings Tue 18-Feb-14 18:54:31

Women who resort to extreme late term abortion tend to do so because of lethal and catastrophic birth defects, and anyone denying a woman that option is seriously lacking in morals.

colleysmill Tue 18-Feb-14 18:57:26

Well on pg the op on this thread was worried it wasn't getting much attention - that's probably changed now

colleysmill Tue 18-Feb-14 18:58:19

Page 2, page 2 silly fingers

Ballsballsballs Tue 18-Feb-14 19:05:23

What spindoctor said.

Funnyfoot Tue 18-Feb-14 19:11:28

TAAT has now gone. And so it should of.

pointythings Tue 18-Feb-14 19:39:15

Thank goodness for that, it was a truly cowardly thing to post.

nennypops Tue 18-Feb-14 19:45:41

If you are going to say that women can be criminally liable in respect of their unborn foetuses, the logical conclusion is that you must have an inquest every time a woman has a miscarriage. You would have to check whether this was a natural death or brought about by the mother's deliberate action or carelessness. Mishmash, do you seriously want to subject women who have gone through that trauma to questioning by the police and coroners as a matter of routine? Do you think there might be anything dangerous about putting women in the position where they would avoid getting medical care after a miscarriage rather than go through that experience, possibly on a repeated basis?

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Feb-14 20:28:32

There is a report here discussing women in America facing murder charges following stillbirths and miscarriages.

It's very frightening reading, especially as these cases seem to be made by misusing a law meant to protect children already born and living in homes with parents who cook methamphetamine and expose those children to the fumes.

I wouldn't want to see those laws in place here and would be very frightened at the potential for misuse.

I have lost two babies, one to unexplained stillbirth and one to prematurity.

Although I have never smoked or taken drugs and I rarely drink, I have in the past taken the medication talked about above, Sodium Valproate, and I'm sure that over the course of my life they could find something to say I had done that I shouldn't have or not done something that I should, and link that to my losses if they wanted to.

PrincessPeashooter Tue 18-Feb-14 20:34:37

As understand only a small proportion of alcoholic mothers give birth to children with FAS so the likely causes are far more complex than just drinking alcohol.

I'd also like to throw something else into the mix. Alcohol or drug addicted mothers are quite likely to have gotten pregnant by alcoholic or drug addicted men, could the quality of the sperm come into it? Therefore, all men capable of impregnating a woman should stop drinking alcohol or taking drugs, also, men remain fertile throughout their lives but the quality of sperm reduces. So if a man in his fifties or above has a child and they are disabled or impaired in anyway then the man should be sued. Or is it only criminal when women are doing it?

FFS unimpressed my posts were deleted. I don't think they breached talk guidelines.

Funnyfoot Tue 18-Feb-14 21:43:34


Why are your posts deleted?

They were in context to the OP. A debate. You were not PAing anyone. You did not use foul language excessively.
You gave your opinion.

Very unfair and now others cannot see why posters agreed with you so the whole thing looks ridiculous.

pointythings Tue 18-Feb-14 21:43:54

I don't think they did either, you just stated your case. Very unfair.

nennypops Tue 18-Feb-14 21:52:55

Quite agree, there was nothing wrong with SolidGold's posts and they should be reinstated.

5madthings Tue 18-Feb-14 22:37:48

Wtf why were golds posts deleted?!

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 23:50:53

I have been on this thread since it started and SGB's posts have in no way breached talk guidelines.

MNHQ can we have a response / explanation or preferably reinstatement of her posts.

I am not used to seeing this on MN it is a bit disturbing.

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 00:29:07

I was a bit torn on this subject, but have now got my thinking straight.

Here's my train of thought for anyone who cares:

Everyone agrees (I imagine) that it would be wrong to punish a woman who had no idea they were pregnant when they did something foetus-damaging. Also it would be wrong to punish a women who did something that had a risk of harming the foetus, but for completely understandable reasons (eg they were on a very necessary medication, and the risk of affecting the foetus was small). Let's call these women categories 1 and 2.

At the other end of the scale we have women who know they are pregnant and genuinely don't give a shit what happens to the foetus. They take drugs, drink loads, smoke, etc. Let's call these women category 4.

Perhaps somewhere in the middle sits category 3 - women who are, for example, alcoholic, or addicted to drugs/cigarettes. They know they are pregnant but due to their addiction they drink/take drugs anyway.

You might think that category 4 women deserve different and harsher treatment, legally, from categories 1 and 2. But the thing is, there is no practical way to distinguish between these categories. You can't be sure which women knew they were pregnant, and which didn't. And you can't draw any sensible line between a risk which was "necessary" and one which wasn't. (For example, if a pregnant women takes a car journey and the foetus is hurt in an accident, was that journey "necessary"?)

So, any law you make which is aimed at category 4 must also work for categories 1 and 2.

And there you end up with the result that this is bonkers.

I'm shocked that they were deleted.

If some opinions are not allowed then that should be made plain so we know to post on some other site.

horsetowater Wed 19-Feb-14 01:03:02

I want to know what SGB said. I gave her an official pardon earlier on for her post about being drunk and pregnant. What's she done now?

Ballsballsballs Wed 19-Feb-14 08:08:38

horse IIRC the deleted posts were the ones where SGB said she supported abortion up to the moment of birth.

It's certainly a controversial position, but it doesn't breach talk guidelines.

Has anyone reported them and asked why they were deleted? MNHQ are usually pretty good at giving explanations for things.

And I love the people who've asked about the men's contribution to all this.
Domestic violence often starts or exacerbates in pregnancy. Alcohol fuels violence, including DV. Therefore if a man is ttc or if his partner is pregnant he should not drink at all. Yes, for most men the risks are small but it minimises the risk. It's only 9 months (plus the bit after where mother and baby are still so vulnerable), what could men possibly have to complain about?

perfectstorm Wed 19-Feb-14 09:10:02

There's a woman in jail in the USA right now because she tried to kill herself when she was 8 months pregnant. Very serious attempt - she took rat poison. She survived, the foetus didn't, so she was charged with murder.

They charged her after she emerged from a month in a psychiatric hospital. Her own distress and suffering was apparently not relevant, and nor was the fact she had to watch her baby die in a NICU, knowing her actions had caused that.

Most women who take risky actions when pregnant aren't doing it because they don't care - or at least, they don't care for themselves, either. Criminalising women for not being good enough incubators is a very scary concept. It's Handmaid's Tale territory.

And while I don't think termination till birth should be legal in a foetus that isn't so badly disabled it isn't in their interests to allow the pregnancy to continue, I do think allowing a woman to have a C section and the baby cared for in a NICO/SCBU thereafter should be, as long as she's of sound mind and able to fully understand the ramifications of that choice.

I don't agree with SGB's views but I am pretty appalled if she was deleted just for stating them. There are plenty of misogynists posting MRA crap on MN who are only deleted if and when trolling is evident, and in the past I had to namechange because BNP members were posting on MN around the general election and challenging them meant I was worried as I was identifiable (and my husband is Jewish, which wouldn't help). MN said they were sympathetic but couldn't remove posts with opinions that didn't break guidelines, however abhorrent they might find them. So this is not consistent.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 09:10:21

I can't believe SGB's comments were deleted - on what basis MNHQ?

I'm alarmed by the potential consequences of this case, and will be watching with interest.

Any restriction placed on the activities of pregnant women for the good of the foetus necessarily means treating her as less than human. People's objections to the principles being argued in this case are not about alcohol per se, but about the precedent which it would set for controlling women's behaviour in a whole variety of other ways, set out by many posters above.

That is why, if you see women as full human beings, you should support the legal principle of abortion up to the point of birth, whether you personally think you would exercise your right to do it or not. It is the only logical conclusion which you can draw if you see women as fully human.

perfectstorm Wed 19-Feb-14 09:14:33

Just googled, and she pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness as a plea bargain, so was sentenced to time served and is now free. But it sets a precedent, nonetheless.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 09:14:47

Has anyone read the article by Judith Jarvis Thomson, using the analogy of the blind violinist? It is a very good explanation of why abortion should be allowed even if we were to define foetus's as living people.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 09:17:24

Sorry - not blind, unconscious! blush

I have been lurking on here, haven't posted because others are saying what I think very eloquently.

I am also apalled that SGB's posts were deleted and would like an explanation.

Was just going to ask why he had to be blind grin

I've yet to encounter a pro-life activist - or anyone who ullulates over the plight of the unborn - who actually demonstrates any sign of caring about children. A lot of the most disgusting US antichoices are also anti-childcare, anti-welfare, anti-sex-education etc. Oh, and they tend to be opposed to women's refuges. THey are pretty blatant about their desire to reduce women to walking incubators.

But defending women's rights to abort up until birth, to down a litre of gin. leap out of an aeroplane and pig out on shelfish, Brie and unwashed salad while PG isn't to say that women should do such things. It's a matter of accepting that women belong to themselves, and that a small number of them making choices you don't agree with is IN NO WAY a justification for treating all the rest of us as feral animals who need to be monitored and policed and controlled FOr The Sake Of The Babies.

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 10:38:07

Aurora thanks for the link. I've just read it (think I may have heard of it before but never read it). I like the unconscious violinist analogy a lot.

Trouble is, the essay does conclude that abortion is sometimes unjustified - see the bit towards the end about the requirement to be a "Minimally Decent Samaritan". It seems to envisage a sliding scale of abortions - some justified, some not, depending on whether the mother "invited" pregnancy or not and depending on the level of inconvenience/risk to the mother.

OrangeFizz99 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:39:46

Its a shame that SGB's posts were deleted. Late abortion and sex selective abortion are extremely uncomfortable subjects but it seems illogical to limit abortion based on reasons and time limits if you have decided that a woman has a right to choose.

Handmaid's Tale references everywhere. I totally heart Margaret Atwood.

I struggle very badly to understand people who say they are pro choice but support this law. However, on mn the definition of pro choice is fairly shaky as I found out the hard way a few months ago.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 10:51:41

Minipie - yes, I agree the article isn't perfect, but I do like the fact that it does effectively demonlish the "but what about the baybee's human rights" argument. We don't allow actualised, born human beings to live off others like this, so why should it be a special case for pregnancy?

I do think the question of whether or not abortion of pregnancy should also always mean death of the foetus is an interesting one, and I've read lots of persuasive arguments that it shouldn't necessarily if the foetus is of a gestational age where it could live outside the mother's body.

I disagree though that there should be any standard of a minimally decent samaritan - women should be as free to act selfishly as anyone else!

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 10:59:17

Yes, I agree, it does a good job of debunking that argument. In essence: even if a foetus is a person, no person has a right to live parasitically off another person.

Re late abortion vs early delivery of unwanted baby: I am not persuaded about this. I had a premature baby and having looked a lot into the impact of prematurity I cannot advocate any "solution" that would increase the numbers of premature babies, especially premature babies whose mothers by definition did not want them. I actually think late abortion is preferable to this idea... (That's a gut reaction, I haven't thought it through fully).

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 11:21:29

i am reporting this post to request MNHQ explains why SGBs posts have been deleted. given there were no personal attacks by all of our reckonings it just looks like censorship or like someone with prejudice in the way had their finger on the button in this instance.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 12:13:45

Yes, Mini I totally accept that argument too. I am not a parent (yet!) and I don't have any experience of prematurity, so I don't really have enough knowledge on the subject to make an informed judgment. I just find it an interesting topic, and I think one which we have room to explore without having to threaten the rights of women.

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 13:54:11

the woman would still be a mother and under the law now there is no right to anonymity in the adoption process or even in sperm donation.

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 13:55:09

besides if you could sue a mother for potentially having caused fas surely you could just as well sue her for not carrying you to term and your subsequent health conditions that were a result of premature birth.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 13:55:14

I asked about SGB's deleted posts in Sitestuff - . No response yet.

duchesse Wed 19-Feb-14 14:07:45

The woman has legal status, the foetus does not. The foetus cannot exist without its mother. That automatically makes it more vulnerable if the mother is not hellbent on protecting it.

Does that mean the foetus gains rights before birth over its less than careful mother? Of course not.

In an ideal world, expectant mothers would all be skipping through the daisies about being pregnant and nothing would ever go wrong in their lives.

We do not live in an ideal world. I am perfectly at ease with the woman having all the rights and the foetus none because the alternative is frankly fucking scary.

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 14:11:37

Oh we wouldn't be skipping anywhere duchesse, that would be too risky, we might trip and hurt the foetus.


good post duchesse. It's a short jump to restricting women's life further. Maybe I shouldn't have had children as I didn't stay home with them for the first five year's of their lives?

all this obsession with hopping, skipping and jumping!

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 14:16:33

Numpty - definitely as the law currently stands, abortion of pregnancy leading to premature (live) birth would not be possible. But we don't have abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in this country, so to a certain extent it is a moot point I think! I was just musing on the different ways in which we can look at the question of abortion of pregnancy until the point of birth, that's all.

And I completely, totally disagree with a child or local authority or anyone else being able to sue a mother for harm done to the child while it was in utero.

My point was more looking at what sort of system we could have if we reformed current abortion laws significantly, and as part of that we would have to accept more fully than we do at the moment I think, that a mother is not legally responsible for the wellbeing of a foetus in utero.

I think we're pretty much on the same page on the whole FAS question.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 14:18:49

(And sorry, I do accept it was a bit of a thread derail, but these questions are all linked aren't they?)

OrangeFizz99 Wed 19-Feb-14 14:32:44

Nice sum up duchesse!

AmyMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Feb-14 14:59:25

Hi all,

Thanks for flagging SGB's posts to us. The first one in particular looked a bit beyond the pale to the person on duty - many MNers, of course, have suffered the tragedy of losing a baby pre-term, and SGB's words about 'a few hundred dead or damaged foetuses' were reported by a few people as being dismissive. But on reflection we can see that that was probably the wrong call, so we've reinstated it now. We would be grateful, though, if posters could remain sensitive to the feelings of other MNers whose feelings about pre-term pregnancies are understandably very raw.

Apols for any confusion in the interim.

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 15:16:13

that's the right call.

of course it's important to be sensitive to people's feelings however issues still need to be discussed and i think the nature of the topic makes pretty clear that it could be triggering for someone such as you describe.

Glad to see the posts back.

I just want to add that in my view this wasn't something said for the sake of it, but an important point that needed making in response to arguments that the reverse should be true.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 15:50:14

I think that is the right decision too. These things need to be discussed openly and without censorship of people's views.

While some mnetters will of course be upset by discussions about prematurity, abortion etc, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have them. It is fairly obvious from the thread title what sorts of topics are likely to be being discussed.

Life doesn't always work out the way that we want it to - I want to have a baby and so far it isn't going exactly to plan hmm but that doesn't mean that I think posters should just not post about unwanted pregnancies etc because I might be upset. (Fwiw, I wouldn't be - what upsets me is women being denied bodily autonomy!)

pointythings Wed 19-Feb-14 15:56:02

Well done, MNHQ. flowers This is a huge and difficult issue, but it really needs discussion - especially because it does not seem to be happening in the mainstream media. Sleepwalking into a situation where we put women in prison because their lives don't conform to the ideal of happy pregnancy would be a disaster.

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 15:59:16

Right call MN. SGB's post was stark but not dismissive IMO. Much better to have posters who openly acknowledge the logical consequences of their position, however unpalatable, than posters who wrap things up in clean linen.

CoteDAzur Wed 19-Feb-14 16:03:41

I hope MNHQ takes this opportunity to train some of the newer recruits about the meaning of free speech. Posts are being deleted at much higher proportions these days, and not always for deletable offenses.

"Beyond the pale" and "dismissive" are not grounds for deleting posts, unless Talk Guidelines have significantly changed since the last time I looked.

OrangeFizz99 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:09:34

It is a difficult subject matter and it is the very fact that in society we don't like to push on beyond the initial horror that laws like this can get passed.

perfectstorm Wed 19-Feb-14 16:10:19

Good post, Duchesse.

Glad SGB's posts have been restored, too.

AuroraRoared Wed 19-Feb-14 16:16:37

Good point Orange

AmyMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Feb-14 16:50:35


I hope MNHQ takes this opportunity to train some of the newer recruits about the meaning of free speech. Posts are being deleted at much higher proportions these days, and not always for deletable offenses.

"Beyond the pale" and "dismissive" are not grounds for deleting posts, unless Talk Guidelines have significantly changed since the last time I looked.

Although we want to allow for freedom of speech as much as possible, the talk guidelines do permit deletion for "wording that is truly beyond the pale"

Overall though, our aim is to allow users to express the spirit of the site rules more than anything else. We want MNers to feel free to say (almost) anything in terms of expressing points of view, but we will step in if things are reported that seem to us to be really beyond the pale or just plain mean.

LauraBridges Wed 19-Feb-14 17:13:36

I have been trying to publicise this case. It is very important for women's rights. I have always been comforted by the fact even in labour I could do what I liked - my own risk, my choice even if XYZ course of action might in the view of a man or a doctor or anyone else not be what they would choose. We must fight this hard.

No need to debate abortion at the same time although I can see the overlap of course - abortion lawful up to any date before birth if the baby disabled etc under English law which many people support.

CoteDAzur Wed 19-Feb-14 21:56:38

AmyMumsnet - Thanks for replying.

"the talk guidelines do permit deletion for "wording that is truly beyond the pale"

Not really. They permit deletion for swearwords that are 'truly beyond the pale''. Here it is:

_It's not our policy to delete swearwords_ (we are all adults, after all) but we do draw the line at obscenity, racist and disablist language, and wording that is truly beyond the pale. So, if you're not sure which side of that line your swearword of choice may fall, it might be best not to use it.

And let's see SGB's deleted post:

"My position is I'd prefer a few hundred or so dead or damaged foetuses than every woman in the country/the world reduced to the status of a breeding animal with no human rights."

No swearing, 'beyond the pale' or otherwise. No wording 'beyond the pale' either.

It seems to me that the opinion was not unwanted here, and not the wording, since I can't see any other way of talking about dead or damaged foetuses but saying "dead of damaged foetuses".

Iirc you have joined MN several months ago. (Welcome, btw smile) I would like to think that you are not singularly responsible for the increase in deleted posts (and the NY disaster?) but perhaps what is and isn't a deletable offence is a topic that needs to be discussed for a bit for better understanding all around (us and you). It feels like posts are being deleted just because they are reported, and they are sometimes reported because someone doesn't like what is being said. I think it is fair to say that we would like to see MNHQ take a more active role in actually taking the time to evaluate each reported post and leave alone the ones who are someone's opinion, expressed in everyday words.

pointythings Wed 19-Feb-14 21:59:08

Perfectly put, Cote.

Funnyfoot Wed 19-Feb-14 22:01:45

What Cote said (amazingly I might add)

ediblewoman Wed 19-Feb-14 22:21:46

Hear hear Côte

JanePurdy Thu 20-Feb-14 08:36:31

Hear hear Cote.

LauraBridges Thu 20-Feb-14 10:52:20

Is my description of English law and my support for it "disablist" above. English law allows desctruction of the baby before birth even at 40 weeks if it is disabled but not for children who are not. This is the law and supported by many. It very much discriminates against the disabled of course but it is perfectly lawful. Presumably we are allowed to describe that law and support it.

I wrote
a.."bortion lawful up to any date before birth if the baby disabled etc under English law which many people support"

This sentence is not beyond the pale that someone wrote above

"My position is I'd prefer a few hundred or so dead or damaged foetuses than every woman in the country/the world reduced to the status of a breeding animal with no human rights."

It is a valid view that many of us would support.

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