A British appeals court says an unborn baby is not a person, yet a girl whose mother drank heavily during her pregnancy was born with disabilities. Still, the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Court of Appeal sits, ruled that an unborn baby is an “organism” not “a person.”
The Court of Appeal ruled against the girl in a 17-page judgment in the case of “CP” v Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Lord Justices Dyson and Treacey and Lady Justice King determined that the plaintiff, named CP in the case to preserve her privacy, was not a person while she was in her mother’s womb. Never mind that was diagnosed with severe foetal alcohol spectrum disorder at birth following the “grossly excessive” drinking by her mother during pregnancy.
The girl in the case is now seven and she is severely undersized as a result and deals with a range of medical problems. In order for her case to succeed, the Supreme Court will have to overturn the appeals court decision.
Here’s more on the ruling, including a comment from a pro-life member of the British parliament:
Pro-life Conservative MP Fiona Bruce said: “The pro-abortion movement did their best to prejudice this judgment. Their false spin labelled this case as being about criminalising drinking during pregnancy. In fact, it was nothing of the kind. It is a civil case about whether a child should be offered compensation after excessive drinking during pregnancy rendered her disabled for life. The law is hopelessly unclear on the status of the unborn child, and this judgment makes it even more incoherent. The only loser in this case is the child who has been denied compensation to help with her care costs. I find no cause for rejoicing in that.”
In order for the claim to succeed, the court had to agree that an unborn child could be a victim of the crime of poisoning.
Under section 23 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, which created the offence of poisoning, it must be proven that the victim is “another person”. In dismissing the appeal, the judges agreed that a crime could not have been committed as a foetus is “not a ‘person’”; rather it is a sui generis organism.
Prof Jack Scarisbrick, chairman of the charity Life, said: “It seems that the Court of Appeal has based its judgment in this case on the lack of ‘independence’ of the unborn child (of course, referred to here as ‘foetus’ – just to make it seem less human).
“But this is absurd; that is to say, it leads to absurd conclusions.
“Yes, the unborn child is totally dependent on another human being, his mother. The newly born child is equally dependent on others (in most cases mainly the mother). Indeed, all children are completely dependent on others for several more years.
“If dependence means that the dependant is unprotected by the law, the person(s) upon whom newly born children – indeed children up to the age of, say six or seven – depend can do what they like to those in their care. They can abuse, beat, starve, etc – and the Court of Appeal will acquit them on the ground that the victims were not yet independent.
“This clearly absurd. There cannot be one law for dependent unborn children and another for dependent born ones.