Obligations of Women to their Fetus in New Zealand
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The paper reveals that under current New Zealand law, a pregnant woman owes her fetus little to no duty at all during its first twenty weeks of gestation; this discussion therefore focuses on the laws regarding a fetus over twenty weeks. The paper explores the legal status of a fetus from twenty weeks to birth, with the aim of advocating for reform which would criminalize pregnant women who act contrary to standard obligations. The paper argues that by allowing a fetus to reach a level of viability, as well as foregoing the right to an abortion, pregnant women accept the responsibility and conditions attached to carrying a viable human being.
From the Paper:"Under s 187A of the Crimes Act, to abort a foetus over 20 weeks is much more difficult than if the foetus is under such. All removals of an implanted foetus are unlawful unless specific criteria under the Crimes Act are met. Under s 187A(3) the only way that a foetus over 20 weeks can be aborted is where the person carrying out the procedure (medical practitioner or other qualified person) believes the abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health. If we refer to the criteria required to seek an abortion when the foetus is under 20 weeks it becomes obvious that the situation here is much less stringent. This is because a foetus under 20 weeks can be aborted on the grounds the pregnancy could cause a risk to the mother's physical or mental health , as well as other less heavily relied on criteria .
"Our conclusion is that Parliament is signifying that a foetus over 20 weeks gestation is owed more protection than one under 20 weeks. This is confirmed by Skegg and Paterson who state that "[l]ess protection is accorded to the foetus in the first 20 weeks of gestation than in the latter 20 weeks of the pregnancy." In terms of protections, we are not suggesting that a foetus over 20 weeks has a right to life , rather that it is simply recognised they have a higher status in law than their under 20 week counterparts, and as a result there is a more arguable case to be made that obligations on their mothers' should result. Though case law has attempted to follow this, it will become clear later that it has not gone far enough in protecting these potential rights, and for our discussion we will focus on how pregnant women ought to have obligations put in place to protect such."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Re Baby P (an unborn child) (1995) 13 FRNZ 472;  NZFLR 577
- R v Henderson  3 NZLR 174
- R v Woolnough  2 NZLR 508 (CA)
- Re J (An Infant): B and B v DG of Social Welfare  2 NZLR 134 (CA)
- Re an Unborn Child (Nikki's Case)  1 NZLR 115;  NZFLR 344
Cite this Persuasive Essay:
Obligations of Women to their Fetus in New Zealand (2013, August 21) Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/obligations-of-women-to-their-fetus-in-new-zealand-153658/
"Obligations of Women to their Fetus in New Zealand" 21 August 2013. Web. 26 November. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/obligations-of-women-to-their-fetus-in-new-zealand-153658/>