Thursday, January 25, 2007

Prosecution strikes me as unfair

Alleged bid to abort leads to baby's death
An 18-year-old Dominican immigrant was charged yesterday with illegally taking prescription anti-ulcer pills to induce an abortion, a risky technique common in her native land that resulted in the death of her premature baby.

Despite taking the pills, Amber Abreu gave birth on Jan. 6 to a 1 1/4-pound girl named Ashley, who clung to life for four days at Tufts-New England Medical Center before dying.

Prosecutors said that Abreu may be charged with homicide.

Had this girl just gone to an abortionist, no matter how far advanced her pregnancy, there would be no way she'd face charges. But because she went the amateur route to get her desired dead baby, she's being prosecuted. Would they be prosecuting a doctor who had misdiagnosed a pregnancy as 23 weeks when it was actually 25? This is a botched abortion. Abortion is legal.

Why should it make a bit of difference how she achieves the baby's death, or how long it takes it to die? Why should it make a bit of difference if the baby was 23 weeks or 25 weeks? So, the woman wasn't a doctor. She made a mistake. She misdiagnosed herself.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's terrible that her baby is dead. But selective prosecution of a girl who is evidently ill-educated, ignorant, and poor makes no sense. Had a college-educated man (i.e. a physician) given her those drugs, he'd get a slap on the wrist at most, for having miscalculated gestational age. He'd have only faced a murder charge if he'd have strangled the baby. This girl didn't strangle her baby. She gave the child a name, after all, and evidently did nothing to stop the hospital staff from trying to save her.

Poverty and ignorance are the crimes she's being prosecuted for here.

Until we establish that it's wrong for anybody to kill a baby, it's unfair and unjust to only prosecute the poor and uneducated.

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