In England there is something called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). If I am injured as a result of a criminal act I can claim for compensation from CICA. This is possible because I am classified as a “person” according to the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.
A girl is currently seeking compensation from CICA because of what her lawyers believe were criminal injuries inflicted on her by her mother . . . when she was a foetus. Her mother drank half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day during pregnancy. The girl’s injuries are on the spectrum of foetal alcohol disorder.
The High Court is currently having to decide whether:
A. A fetus is a person; and
B. Whether drinking excessive alcohol in pregnancy constitutes a criminal act.
The ramifications for the legal status of a foetus (and its implications for abortion law) and the potential criminalisation of pregnant woman who abuse alcohol or drugs are potentially very interesting. How would you rule?