d33p wrote:I'm pretty sure what Malice meant was, if a mother smokes/drinks/does crack/rides in a fast car - she's guilty of endangering an 'unborn'. If she decides to stab herself in the belly/get an abortion/throw herself down the stairs - she's okay.
There's some bizarre equivocation in there that simply doesn't parse. So yeah, try again.
I admit that I'm beginning with cases and working backwards from there to some sort of consistent theory. The flaw in that strategy appears to be that my reactions to specific cases are not coherent with each other. (I have no specific opinion on the medical/theological ideas here, and am trying to consider things in utilitarian terms.)
I think women should be allowed to abort. (Because that helps society.)
But I also think a woman who endangers her unborn child should be charged (if it results in harm). (Because that discourages "unintended abortions" and birth defects; discouraging those also helps society.)
I can't quite reconcile those two ideas legally without either saying "A woman should only be allowed to abort if a doctor does it" (or some such). But that law doesn't make any sense to me. The issue really is the intent. Hmm...
Princess Marzipan wrote:
Malice wrote:I'm not sure I see anything wrong with this.
My personal belief is that a fetus is, legally, partway a person and partway property. The mother can kill it, if that's what she wants; if anybody else does it against her will, however, that's murder. In that sense, recklessly endangering the unborn child's life should be a crime, even if the person doing it is the mother (consider a mother who decides to drink during her pregnancy).
The only odd bit left (in my eyes) is that I'm not sure I'd criminalize it if she said, "I'm going to kill my fetus by getting into a car crash." Whereas the accident, if caused recklessly, should be punished ("I'm going to drive at 100mph and I don't care if I kill my fetus"). Although in the first case, she'd be punished for endangering everybody else's life who was on the road.
So if you intend to do it, it's not a crime, but if it's an accident, it's illegal. ... I'll have to be extra precise in my stabbings to make sure I kill efficiently. Wouldn't want someone to ACCIDENTALLY die.
I'm pretty sure that if somebody dies while you're stabbing them, it's not an accident. If you were generally applying the notion of "intended = crime, accident = legal", you did it incorrectly. Besides, they don't generally apply; they only apply with regards to an unborn child, which may or may not be legally protected from harm. Unlike the general population, which always is.
The best way I can reconcile my beliefs are to treat the fetus in a wave/particle fashion. When the mother wants to kill it, it's property she can do what she wants with. When she neglects it, or acts with reckless disregard, it's a person upon whose right to life she can't infringe.
The other way to reconcile it would be to say "A fetus is always a person, but in the case of abortion the right of the mother to bodily autonomy outweighs the right of the fetus to live." I guess my issue with that is that I'm somewhat comfortable with a double-think legal fiction but not very comfortable with coming down on either side of the "is it a person?" debate.