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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 122118 Find in a Library
Title: Maternal Rights and Fetal Wrongs: The Case Against the Criminalization of "Fetal Abuse"
Journal: Harvard Law Review  Volume:101  Issue:5  Dated:(March 1988)  Pages:994-1012
Author(s): Anonymous
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 19
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The constitutionality and policy implications of fetal abuse laws are assessed with emphasis on targeting only specific egregious conduct and fostering prenatal education programs.
Abstract: In 1986 in People v. Stewart, a California resident was charged with child abuse for behavior that caused harm and eventually death to the fetus she was carrying. The article examines maternal and fetal rights and the State's interest in both, focusing on laws that would impose criminal penalties on a woman who carried out behavior injurious to the fetus she was carrying. The privacy interests of the mother and the State's interest in protecting fetal health are analyzed with the conclusion that fetal abuse laws are undesirable because they discourage bonding between the mother and the fetus and because they deprive women of control over their own bodies. 96 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Infanticide
Index Term(s): Abusing parents; Child abuse; Crimes against children; Family homicide; Women's rights
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