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Dealing with incidents of feticide and infanticide in England and Wales

02 May 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 5

An American woman was recently sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by a court in Indiana for neglect of a dependent and feticide (Valenti, 2015). The 33-year-old woman attended an emergency department bleeding heavily and eventually admitted to miscarrying a stillborn baby then placing it in a bag then a bin. The prosecution argued that text messages on her mobile indicated she had bought abortion-inducing drugs on the internet. No trace of the drug was detected in blood tests taken when she attended hospital. The woman continues to argue that she miscarried (Cherry, 2015). The handling of the case has been widely criticised as the woman appears to have been convicted of both unlawfully aborting her pregnancy—feticide—and allowing her neonate to die—neglect of a dependent. In this article, Richard Griffith considers how such cases are dealt with in England and Wales.

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