I’ve written about this before – human gestation is not straightforward. A fertilized ovum is at best a potential person, and declaring it a person worthy of full rights of a natural person is problematic at best.
I’ve described what can happen at the worst – where declaring a blastocyst to be the same as a natural person leads to ridiculous tyranny where coffee could be a form of manslaughter.
Well, it’s happening:
The “creeping criminalization of pregnant women” has begun.
Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her fetus was diagnosed with possible Down’s syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.
The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth.
Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with “chemical endangerment” of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied.
“That shocked me, it really did,” Kimbrough said. “I had lost a child, that was enough.”
She now awaits an appeal ruling from the higher courts in Alabama, which if she loses will see her begin a 10-year sentence behind bars. “I’m just living one day at a time, looking after my three other kids,” she said. “They say I’m a criminal, how do I answer that? I’m a good mother.”