Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Monday, October 06, 2003

On Stillborn Children

I'm not sure quite where I stand on this:
The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider the case of a woman sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder after drugs were found in the system of her stillborn daughter.
Regina McKnight was convicted under South Carolina's homicide by child abuse law for the 1999 death.

While there should be (and are) penalties for drug use in general, and while I think there should be harsher penalties for it when it harms or kills others (including babies), I do not agree with those of my friends who argue that there should be harsh penalties for anything that causes a miscarriage. They, in accord with the fears of the defense team in this case, believe that pregnant women should be legally banned from "Smoking, medications, certain kinds of jobs and stress," as well as from horseback riding, climbing stairs (you can fall!), eating spicy food (the reason my brother was nearly a month early), etc. I'd say that's rather excessive. I'm all for state-subsidized child-bearing programs that teach women about the side effects of such things; and, if there is irrefutable evidence that a woman does such things with the intent of harming or killing her child, then she should be punished. But good luck telling women they can't worry while they're pregnant!

Perhaps one solution would be to make harsher punishments (as in this case) for things which harm or kill children and are already illegal.


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