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Victory for pregnant women - in Court

(23 Posts)
Greengrow Thu 04-Dec-14 18:36:32

Wonderful news for women. We own our bodies after all and can do what we like when pregnant rather than being controlled by men or sued.
It was a vital case for women and feminism and held that it is not a crime if you drink when pregnant. Had it gone the other way it would have been a step into the dark ages, women as baby incubators liable left right and centre if they eat cheese, run or did anything else someone thought was wrong.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30327893

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Thu 04-Dec-14 18:45:10

Glad to see common sense prevailed.

confusedandemployed Thu 04-Dec-14 18:46:21

Absolutely. Thank god common sense prevailed for once.

bestofthesunshine Thu 04-Dec-14 18:47:16

I'm a feminist and agree with the ruling.

Still devastating for the child, though.

Madamecastafiore Thu 04-Dec-14 18:48:05

It's a bit of an exaggeration to day eat cheese or run. This piece of work drank copious amounts of high strength lager and half a bottle of vodka a day.

But I've met quite a few kids in CAMHS with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome so maybe feel a little differently about the responsibilities of the mother when pregnant.

hellyhants Thu 04-Dec-14 18:54:30

The mother in this case was 17. If she was already an alcoholic she needed help, not to become criminalised - how can you be an alcoholic at 17?

It is devastating for the child, but it is also the fault of our system - that you need to blame someone to get compensation. In New Zealand they've had a no-fault compensation system in place for years. If the child needs care, they should get it without needing to go down this route.

I'm very relieved at the ruling. You already have busybodies interfering if a pregnant lady has a glass of wine at a party etc (it might be the only one she's had all pregnancy!) - imagine where we'd have been if the decision had gone the other way. 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage - in some countries that leads to a lot of women being blamed for ending their pregnancies on purpose.

hellyhants Thu 04-Dec-14 18:55:07

PS here is the actual judgment: t.co/0l94oKX8KX

EdithWeston Thu 04-Dec-14 18:55:58

I was very relieved when I read the outcome of this case.

Criminalising pregnant women for what they ingest is unlikely to reduce the number of babies born with FAS, or addicted. Indeed, if criminalised, I think there is a strong chance of the perverse outcome if women became scared of seeking support (whether those fears are well founded or not).

Got99problems Thu 04-Dec-14 18:56:40

Wow I didn't realise that the birth mum was only 17. Absolutely brings it home that what is needed is support, not criminalisation.

AgaPanthers Thu 04-Dec-14 22:48:20

The mother was not on trial, the attempt was to get much needed money, from the Criminal Injuries Comoensation Board, to pay for the awful disabilities caused by the mothers drinking.

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 00:17:30

But the point is that if this was found to have been a crime, it opens the door to other mothers getting charged.

AgaPanthers Fri 05-Dec-14 02:14:28

Well no.

The reality is that children suffering from FAS were getting the money they needed (cases were brought by LA care departments), until 2012, when the CICA decided not to pay.

Women were not being prosecuted. This was NEVER about prosecuting pregnant women who drank or ate cheese or whatever ridiculous crap is in the OP, it was about LA care department trying to get funding for the kids. 17 year old alcoholic mothers do not have money and there was never any interest in prosecuting them.

So this great 'victory' involves severely disabled children now not getting needed financial support.

Whoop de fucking doo.

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 02:30:54

Aga it was about establishing the criminal liability of mothers. I'm confused that you can dispute that.

nooka Fri 05-Dec-14 03:03:36

These cases should never have been approved by CICA though, as if damaging your child during pregnancy is not a crime (and it isn't) and you cannot sue your mother for damages (even if she has funds) then how does it make sense to gain compensation for a criminal injury? It was a misuse of that process.

I can understand why in a system that supports those with disabilities poorly (and increasingly so) this avenue was pursued, but it has hugely problematic implications and I too am glad that the appeal was dismissed.

Well that's it - to be a criminal compensation, a crime has to have been committed and the crime in question (alcohol damage to a foetus) could only have been committed by the mother, thus criminalising women who drink or do other things that severely harm their unborn babies.

It IS awful that this particular case means the child in question (and many others) won't get compensation - but it would have been awful too if the ruling had gone the other way and women had been criminalised for behaviour when pregnant.

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 03:14:17

The problem is that SEN & Social Care budgets have been slashed to the bone.

The solution is not to hold troubled women criminally liable for their addictions.

Women whose DC are harmed by FASD will often lose their DC to the care system and adoption anyway, which is suffering enough for them, as well as protecting the interests of the DC.

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 03:18:17

Perhaps we should all turn our attention to the fact that public spending in the UK has now been slashed to pre-welfare state levels.

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/03/autumn-statement-2014-george-osborne-spending-cuts

AgaPanthers Fri 05-Dec-14 03:31:06

"it was about establishing the criminal liability of mothers. I'm confused that you can dispute that."

No,
It was not.

The case was heard in the Court of Appeal CIVIL division. Not criminal.

It involved personal injuries lawyers - again, not criminal lawyers. www.apil.org.uk/injury-lawyer-details.aspx?id=182

It was a CIVIL case, between the child and the CICA.

No criminal liability would have been established, in particular because the standard of proof required by the CICA is 'balance of probabilities', whereas a criminal conviction would require 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

The precedent here binds civil courts - it does not bind criminal courts, and it does not, in fact, prevent women being prosecuted criminally for drinking, so there is as such no victory for women's rights.

It is true that CICA compensation means that, on the balance of probabilities, a crime has been committed, but it's perfectly consistent and pragmatic for the civil courts to say that a crime has 'probably' been committed, and for the criminal courts on the other hand to say 'not guilty'.

"if damaging your child during pregnancy is not a crime (and it isn't) "

It is a crime if done with intent to kill/abort the foetus.

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 03:37:24

Yes it was a civil case about whether the child was entitled to CRIMINAL compensation.

Criminal Injuries Compensation is always a civil matter but there has to be a likelihood that a crime has been perpetrated for the compansation to be payable.

Hence all the interest.

This case could have established a precedent.

Why are you playing dumb? confused

AgaPanthers Fri 05-Dec-14 03:40:59

"Perhaps we should all turn our attention to the fact that public spending in the UK has now been slashed to pre-welfare state levels."

No it hasn't. CURRENT spending is higher, as a percentage of GDP, than at any point under the Blair government. It is FORECAST to fall as a percentage of GDP to the lowest level since 1938 or something.

However, the real spending level is in fact massively higher than say 50 years ago, because GDP has grown so massively due to our more efficient productive economy.

If the economy grows faster than welfare spending, that does not mean that welfare is being cut. If you look at the welfare availability and poverty conditions that people were in 60 or 70 years ago, they are incomparable to the modern welfare state, which is huge and covers most of society, whereas originally it was just a small % of the population.

AgaPanthers Fri 05-Dec-14 03:42:37

"This case could have established a precedent."

Yes, a civil precedent. Not a criminal precedent.

A civil court cannot create a criminal offence.

Why are you playing dumb?

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 03:45:58

Budgets are necessarily about planning future spending Aga. The opposite way wouldn't work very well.

If the economy grows faster than welfare spending, that does not mean that welfare is being cut

Eh? Not sure who you're talking to now.

Why do you think there is a need to pursue criminal compensation?

ArsenicSoup Fri 05-Dec-14 03:48:12

Yes, a civil precedent. Not a criminal precedent.

A civil court cannot create a criminal offence.

I didn't say it was a criminal precedent.

You don't understand that CIC is one of those points where civil and criminal law touch and affect each other?

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