Letter: Allow women in labour to choose

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The Independent Online
Sir: One would have more sympathy with the Court of Appeal in the Caesarean section case, and with the views of the learned chairman of the BMA's medical ethics committee (letter, 10 March), if English law embodied a presumption in favour of the unborn child. But the common law has never done so, and foetuses in the waste bags at hospitals and clinics graphically demonstrate that neither does statute.

If the woman concerned had earlier wanted to terminate the pregnancy she could, with medical agreement, have done so. But as she preferred to leave the viability of the foetus to nature (or, as some would say, to the will of God) she was prevented from so doing, by an unholy combination of judges and medics. Without a presumption of law in their favour, by what right do they impose their own judgements on the bodies of pregnant women?

NIC COIDAN

University of Huddersfield

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