Sun | Apr 26, 2015

What about Lamont's unborn baby?

Published:Thursday | September 6, 2012

THE EDITOR, Sir:

ON TUESDAY, September 4, 2012, the director of public prosecutionsruled that charges of murder, wounding with intent, assault and illegal possession of firearm be brought against the policeman accused in that deadly shooting incident inYallahs, St Thomas, on Saturday, September 1, 2012.

Ms Kay-Ann Lamont was shot to death, her sister shot and wounded, and another sister escaped injury only because the firearm failed to fire.

It's for the courts to find the policeman guilty, not-guilty, not-guilty by reason of insanity or whatever else people are tried for under such circumstances.

As a physician, what piques my curiosity is the legal and human rights status of the unborn child. I understand that Ms Lamont was over 28 weeks pregnant at the time of her untimely death, therefore, the child was technically and legally viable (able to survive outside the mother's womb) and the shooter should be also charged with a second murder (that of the child that was near term).

However, even if the victim were less than 28 weeks pregnant when she was murdered, in our jurisdiction, the foetus is considered non-viable, so no separate murder charge could be laid against the shooter.

But, what about a separate charge for unlawful termination of pregnancy? After all, in such cases, the parents would have certainly wanted their baby to survive and become a part of their family. Doesn't that horrendous loss count for anything? Wouldn't the little life growing within a mother be worth absolutely nothing? If so, then why all the hullabaloo and legal actions over the terminations of pregnancy? Are we sending mixed signals here?

Dr Garth A. Rattray

garthrattray@gmail.com