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To think unborn babies should be counted as disaster victims?

126 replies

pudding24 · 13/07/2017 21:46

I've just read that an unborn baby (7 months) was killed in the Grenfell fire disaster - thankfully the mother was not.

I've also just read that an unborn baby of 7 months was killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and yet the official death toll is 6, not 7 or '6 + one unborn child'.

AIBU to think that - especially in the third trimester - the likelihood is that that baby would have been born and led a full and wonderful life, and therefore they are just as much a victim and should be included in counts and reports? Sad

OP posts:
MaudGonneMad · 13/07/2017 22:34

theymademejoin quite a few news reports I've found describe the death toll as 31.

But yes I agree that 'including a woman pregnant with twins' is a more accurate description.

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 22:35

Don't exist .....legally. Yet in every other way they do exist but without that legal status it's somehow easier to push to the back of our minds what it really means

That is what it really means. What is that you think people are not thinking about?

unavita · 13/07/2017 22:39

But we have the offence of 'child destruction' in English law concerning viable foetus killed before birth?

manicinsomniac · 13/07/2017 22:40

I can see your point but also agree that it could be very problematic for abortion rights.

Personally I see a fetus as a baby/person - but it's something I think everyone needs to make up their own mind about. So I see no problem with thinking to myself that 82+ died instead of 81+ while accepting that legally it has to be 81+ just as I think to myself that fetus is a child but accept that legally it cannot be. The law can't allow for emotions. But people need to decide for themselves when the people they are creating become people and everyone else needs to respect their decision on that.

The tiny violins comment and insistence on non-person status is insensitive because it isn't being said to one person, it's being typed for 100s to read - quite likely including those who have had late term losses and see themselves as bereaved parents of a human baby - not people who were going to have a baby but lost the fetus. People give their late term losses names, birthdays, funerals - they see them as people and comments like that invalidate their feelings.

theymademejoin · 13/07/2017 22:41

MaudGonne - I only remember hearing / reading 29 including a woman pregnant with twins but I know there was some pressure from the family to have them counted as victims so it's possible it was reported that way in some sources that I didn't notice.

I think mainstream media generally reported as 29 including a woman pregnant with twins.

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 22:44

But we have the offence of 'child destruction' in English law concerning viable foetus killed before birth?

Which is very very rarely used and only applicable in extremely limited circumstances.

Butteredparsnip1ps · 13/07/2017 22:44

MaudGonne - the death toll for omagh was always described as "including a woman pregnant with twins " rather than the foetuses being counted separately. I think that is a good way of doing it

This works for me. It recognises 2 children who didn't get to be because of that atrocity. I hear what people are saying about the legal arguments, but acknowledging that a pregnancy ended without a live birth is important too.

AnnieOH1 · 13/07/2017 22:46

Pudding - The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center is memorialised alongside those victims of 9/11 in the memorial pools at ground zero. Monica Rodriguez Smith and her unborn child are named as such.

To think unborn babies should be counted as disaster victims?
Diamondlife · 13/07/2017 22:48

I agree op, but only for babies 28 weeks + which is when they could survive outside of the womb.

moggle · 13/07/2017 22:51

OP you might be interested to know that at the memorial to the people who died in the Twin towers on 9/11, all the names are engraved and many unborn babies are included with their mothers, even their sexes and names if they had already been named. E.g. "Amy smith and her unborn baby boy".

DesperatelySeekingSushi · 13/07/2017 22:52

YANBU. That poor mother lost a baby. In her own words "her son was murdered". In any other circumstances Logan Isaac could have been saved. She was 32 weeks along not 24. He died in utero with his heart stopping due to lack of oxygen/possible cyanide poisoning.
That is corporate manslaughter and he is a victim.

BestZebbie · 13/07/2017 22:56

On the flip side, some disasters and attacks can carry on causing miscarriages years after the actual day of destruction - at what point do you draw the line in the figures for those? (eg: radiation, poisoning of an area where people live etc).

PlymouthMaid1 · 13/07/2017 22:57

A baby which would have been viable outside the womb is not a thing without feeling in my mind. After 22 weeks people are kidding themselves if they believe the just a bundle of cells line. I think they should be counted or at least acknowledged as victims. I am pro choice but do think the current abortion limit is too high.

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 22:59

In her own words "her son was murdered"

That is how she may feel, but legally it is not murder.

That is corporate manslaughter and he is a victim

Again no, there is no basis for any charge of manslaughter. To be a victim one needs to be a person.

We need to be clear that while people's varying feelings on the matter are all valid, the legal definitions are very clear and are not open to interpretation.

GardenGeek · 13/07/2017 23:02

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDragon · 13/07/2017 23:02

I think I agree that, in the situations mentioned in the OP, the foetus should be counted.

As others say, a foetus isn't a person. But in disasters, people feel losses. A wanted baby that's lost, is a loss. It's right to recognise that, IMO.

It isn't true that a 7 month foetus doesn't feel pain or feel aware. It might be that, in certain situations, such a foetus dies painlessly in the womb. But then, it's also possible for adult humans to die painlessly in their sleep. Pain in death is not the normal criterion for mourning. What I do know is that a foetus at that gestation can show distress, and can (once delivered) clearly suffer pain. It's not impossible at all.

I am thoroughly pro-choice. I understand how these arguments can be twisted by the anti-abortion lobby. But so many things can be twisted by the anti-abortion lobby. It's absurd to abandon basic compassion in order to kowtow to people like that.

Let the parents decide, I think.

hennaoj · 13/07/2017 23:05

How can they possibly not exist before they are born? They exist, they have a body a brain, thoughts, feelings and move. You can't say a baby doesn't exist just because it is inside someones womb, its not in another dimension.

Diamondlife · 13/07/2017 23:05

I'm not sure what the law says, but I do feel a baby is a person in it's own right once it reaches 28 weeks, maybe even 26?
Perhaps the law needs changing?

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 23:05

Let the parents decide, I think

But we can't do that. They can decide how they feel, as can everyone, but they can't decide that official death tolls or victim rolls must include a foetus, which is the topic of the OP. It isn't that it would be twisted by the anti abortion loby, it would be directly handing the law over to them, and moreover, it would change the very basis of the legal definitions of personhood.

why not just seperate feelings of grief from matters of law?

BoomBoomsCousin · 13/07/2017 23:06

We should definitely count the heartache and lost opportunity of those who didn't make it out, and there is heartache and lost opportunity in the loss of of a fetus.

But it's not the same as a person. In major disasters with many victims there will be women who were only just pregnant. Women who didn't know, who may not have wanted to be pregnant. There will be people who, had the disaster not have happened, would have got pregnant the next day and had a child who would have grown up, would have have had a life too. There will be people who would died who would have saved some other person's life. All these are losses. They are all tragic.

The official death toll is just a number. It's an important number but it doesn't encompass all the loss. All the things that never came to be. We have a clear marker for what a person is, extending that in a fuzzy way for a body count has some implications that will hurt the living and it does nothing to actually help the dead. We need memorials that personalise loss and don't seek to reduce it to a number.

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 23:07

How can they possibly not exist before they are born? They exist, they have a body a brain, thoughts, feelings and move. You can't say a baby doesn't exist just because it is inside someones womb, its not in another dimension

It does not exist as a separate person in it's own right. Nobody is saying it doesn't exist, only that it is not yet a person.

LRDtheFeministDragon · 13/07/2017 23:07

Btw, plymouth, in England, Scotland and Wales, there isn't an 'abortion limit' - abortion is legal if there is risk to the mother's life or the baby would be in severe difficulties. There's no week limit on that.

I think that is right, because I know how inhumane it is to expect a woman to carry a baby knowing it is a death sentence (which is possible), and I know how inhumane it is to expect her to carry a baby who will experience extreme pain and certain death, including the huge trauma of birth (which is also possible).

But abortion law could be separated from responses in situations like that the OP refers to, and ideally should be.

LRDtheFeministDragon · 13/07/2017 23:08

grand - actually, no, we could let the parents decide. We just don't. There's no impossibility to it.

grandOlejukeofYork · 13/07/2017 23:08

But abortion law could be separated from responses in situations like that the OP refers to, and ideally should be

It couldn't, truly.

LRDtheFeministDragon · 13/07/2017 23:09


Well, I suppose if we assume everyone is extremely stupid and patriarchy is an inevitability, then you're right.

But I prefer to believe neither of those things is the case.

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