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Judge in late abortion case linked to conservative Christian charity

(195 Posts)
HoleyGhost Fri 21-Sep-12 19:12:16

" A judge who criticised UK abortion policies while sentencing a woman to eight years in prison for performing her own abortion at a late stage in her pregnancy is one of at least five members of the judiciary with links to a Christian charity which has campaigned for more conservative abortion laws."

Thought this deserved a thread of its own.

LynetteScavo Fri 21-Sep-12 19:24:46

The general view on MN seems to be that this woman deserved a lot more than 8 years in prison.(I'm not sure I agree with this view) The "late stage" in pregnancy was 39 weeks, and the woman induced her labor. Whether the baby died before during or after birth is not known, as the woman will not say where the baby is.

If the woman was before a court of a crime then it shouldn't make any difference what the believes of the jury are...she is either guilty or not guilty in British law. If she had terminated the pregnancy at 8 weeks by drinking a bottle of gin, throwing herself down the stairs and having a hot bath, then been sentenced to eight years in prison, yes, it would be extremely concerning. But in this country there should be no need to do that because of our abortion laws which, although I think need a bit of tweaking due to modern medicine, really are quite reasonable.

HoleyGhost Fri 21-Sep-12 20:06:36

It suggests the judge - like the vocal minority on MN and other social media - has an axe to grind.

What the woman did was terrible. She admitted her guilt. Not sure how a long custodial sentence will help her. It certainly won't deter anyone from doing similar in utter desperation.

Almandine Fri 21-Sep-12 20:49:45

The vocal minority? So most people think terminating a pregnancy days away from birth can be justified? confused. Most people on mumsnet usually seem to think women should have the right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason, what ever the gestation of the pregnancy. confused

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 20:51:12

full story here

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 20:54:27

Whatever their religious or other beliefs, judges are supposed to treat people equally. That means sentencing should be fair. Not extra-harsh because the judge happens to be anti-abortion.

I hope she appeals against the sentence. Whatever you think of her actions, she is entitled to a fair, impartial sentence.

AKissIsNotAContract Fri 21-Sep-12 20:54:31

She didn't deserve 8 years IMO. If her unborn child had disabilites she could have legally obtained an abortion. Current abortion laws are disablist.

lisaro Fri 21-Sep-12 20:55:16

Interesting. Maybe that's why he was so lenient, to try to prove he was unbiased. Unfortunately it was a very bad judgement.

ReallyTired Fri 21-Sep-12 21:01:59

To get a late abortion in the UK is pretty tough. Maybe the current law is disablist in banning abortions at 38 weeks of healthy babies, but the judge's position is to punish according to the law of the land. The jury's role was to decide whether the woman was innocent or guilty.

Personally I think the judge's sentence was about right. The fact that a couple of disabled babies are murdered at 38 weeks doesn't make it right.

Meglet Fri 21-Sep-12 21:07:19

8 years was far too long, what good will a prison sentence do? The whole thing is awful but to find out he was sentencing her explains it (a bit).

Almandine Fri 21-Sep-12 21:13:55

A prison sentence will prevent her getting pregnant again.

If she killed the baby soon after birth (which I think is likely) would that deserve an 8 year sentence?

mellen Fri 21-Sep-12 21:20:28

The maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment.
If she thinks that it is unfair she can appeal.

NanaNina Fri 21-Sep-12 21:35:04

OP how do you know that the judge in this case is linked to a christian charity that campaigns for more conservative views on abortion - has this come from a reliable source. I am assuming this woman will via her lawyer appeal against this sentence which to my mind is far too high a tariff.

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:01:42

Nana, read the link I posted below.

Almandine, she was not charged with killing, she was not convicted of killing, so that has no bearing on the sentence she received for the crime she did admit.

Mellen, the maximum sentence for the MPs and Lords who fiddled their expenses was decades in prison, but they only served a few months. It is very rare for someone to receive the maximum sentence laid down for an offence.

mellen Fri 21-Sep-12 22:04:16

I'm aware of that, just trying to set the sentence that she did receive into context.

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:06:09

There isn't much context though, it's such a rare case. When was the last prosecution with this charge? More than 50 years ago, at least, and very possibly rather more.

mellen Fri 21-Sep-12 22:09:01

I think it was 2009.

threeOrangesocksmorgan Fri 21-Sep-12 22:09:53

AKissIsNotAContract so true

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:10:41

really? That is surprising. What did the 2009 person get?

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:13:02

Oh hang on, are you talking about a case where someone else, not the pregnant woman, was charged? Hardly comparable. I'm talking about the last time a woman was charged with this crime in relation to her own pregnancy.

mellen Fri 21-Sep-12 22:20:18

Its the same law, so comparable to an extent hmm

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:20:28

The BMJ - who ought to know - says the judge 'had no similar precedents to guide him in sentencing'. He was free to be as severe or as lenient as he chose, it would appear.

edam Fri 21-Sep-12 22:21:23

No, the facts of the cases are very different. Attempting to abort someone else's baby is not the same thing at all!

mellen Fri 21-Sep-12 22:26:42

It is the same law. That is a point of similarity is it not?

runningforme Fri 21-Sep-12 22:27:11

I think 8 years is about right. Is it only considered harsh because the mother did it herself? If it were someone else, would the consensus be that the sentencing was fair? Pro choice views shouldn't cloud the reality of what took place, just as people believe that pro life views shouldn't affect the sentencing. The fact that the mother won't say where the babies is buried speaks volumes to me.

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