What are the implications of repeal for crimes against pregnant women?

Repeal would have no implications for crimes against pregnant women.


The law now

Under the current law, the intentional destruction of unborn human life is a crime (Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, s.  22). The only defence is a lawful abortion under that Act.

Killing or assaulting a woman is a crime, whether she is pregnant or not.

Where the victim is pregnant, the fact of her pregnancy might be taken into account in sentencing.

If a person kills or assaults a pregnant women resulting in foetal death the DPP may decide to charge them with the crime of intentional destruction of unborn life, as well as with offences in respect of killing or assault of the pregnant woman.

The proposed new law

The proposed new law will not change this.

The proposed new law makes it a criminal offence intentionally to end the life of an unborn foetus, except in accordance with the Act (General Scheme, Head 18).

It will remain a crime to kill or assault a woman, whether she is pregnant or not.

Where the victim is pregnant, the fact of her pregnancy might be taken into account in sentencing.

If a person were to kill or assault a pregnant woman resulting in foetal death, the DPP may decide to charge them with the crime of intentionally ending the life of the foetus under the new law, as well as with offences in respect of killing or assault of the pregnant woman.

 

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