This book considers the appropriate response of the criminal law with regard to women whose acts or omissions in pregnancy cause the death or injury of the child born alive. It compares recent developments in English law in the light of the Human Rights Act 1998, with those in America, which has seen an enormous growth in litigation over the last two decades. In England and Wales, the 'born alive rule' is currently applied only to third parties who injure the fetus, which is later born alive and dies as a result of these injuries. In some American states, a rule of similar origins has been extended so as to criminalize recent mothers whose acts or omissions in pregnancy caused injury or death to the resulting child. The author examines the implications of the laws in both systems, and also looks at the rights of the mother and child in relation to the obligations of the state to protect both of them.
Contents: Introduction; The status of the fetus; The State interest in protecting the pregnant woman and the significance of autonomy; Criminalization of pregnant women and mothers in the USA; Crimes against the fetus born alive in England and Wales; Criticism of the United States' extensions of the law; Alternatives to extended criminalization; Bibliography; Index.