Monday, May 24, 2010

When Does Existence Count?

Thats the question that I, and many others in Australia, am pondering today? It comes on the back of the case of a couple who, after having been hit by a drug driver on Christmas Day, lost their unborn child at 32 weeks ( " NSW to review unborn child laws " ). This poor woman, who was hit whilst out taking a walk, had to endure the pain and suffering of having to birth her child even though they knew the baby, already named Zoe, would be stillborn - and now, because of laws regarding what constitutes " human ", she cannot even get justice for that loss. See, here in New South Wales, a baby is not considered human until it has taken a breath and, thusly, this drug driver cannot be tried for either murder or manslaughter.

This, frankly, is ridiculous. Is the law saying a baby does not exist until it breaths? So you can have a baby growing inside you, evidence of their existence available on any ultrasound screen, available to any passer-by in the street - yet, in the eyes of the law, that baby doesnt exist until it takes its first breath of air. What a load of rubbish! I know this poses all kinds of moral and ethical questions, but surely a baby at 32 weeks, that could be born that early and survive, which kicks its mother, and gets the hiccups, and can suck its thumb - surely that MUST count as human?

The problem, as its been described to me, is that it raises the question of when would abortion become murder? I dont know at what stage abortion becomes murder - and therefore illegal - in this state, but i'm damn sure its well before 32 weeks. Not that i want this to become a debate on abortion but, for the record, i consider myself pro-choice - although i dont believe that abortion is the right choice ( for me, or anyone else ), i do believe that each individual woman should be able to choose for herself. But abortion is illegal in this country beyond a certain stage because the law regarding abortion must recognise late stage abortion of a fetus as murder. Mustn't it? Otherwise abortion would be legal at any stage. So why is it different for the loss of a child through other criminal means?

I just dont get it. And i'm sure this poor couple mustnt either. My heart goes out to them, their living daughter, and their angel baby. I just hope this legal loophole can be rectified soon so that other families need not suffer the same....


  1. I absolutely agree. It's disgusting. If abortion is illegal after 20 weeks, then killing a baby after that time, should be considered murder.

  2. As far as I'm concerned, as soon as a baby is capable of living outside of the womb under normal circumstances,they should be classed (legally) as living. from the moment a mother finds out shes pregnant, she begins to bond with the child. The morning sickness, the flutters, the expanding waistline, kicks, turns and all those other joyous things that motherhood brings are there to help us bond with the LIVING child inside of us. That driver should be charged with murder as they would be if theyd killed any other child/adult.
    ** Coming from the perspective of a mother that was admitted to hospital for bleeding after being rammed in the stomach(HARD) by a lady with a trolley because she get angry that I was "in her section". Baby is ok thogh, and now 3.

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  4. Wow this is an interesting - but tragic - case. I suppose since I don't actually agree with abortion personally, then I have to agree that this is certainly a case of manslaughter at the very least. But it's not something I've ever thought about before.

  5. I feel sorry for the baby and the couple. It definitely broke their heart and I hope lawmakers would take a look for necessary steps so that people shouldn't suffer the same situation.

  6. Well written and thoughtful post, and you're VERY brave to bring up the A word in public.
    Personally, I identify so strongly with my pregnancies that my babies were people right from the get-go.
    I find it difficult to understand the law most times but this, this is just incomprehensible.