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December 01, 2005

Hawaiian Supreme Court: Unborn Babies Are "Not Human Beings"

Apparently they're duck-billed platypusses, or maybe Gila monsters, or perhaps Jesus Lizards.

The statement was made in case deciding that a woman who killed her child by taking lots of drugs (including a hit of meth on the day of her delivery) couldn't be charged with manslaughter.

After all, all she did was kill a marmoset. Or maybe a three-toed sloth. Or a fruit bat. Or a ginko tree.

I'm not sure which, but it wasn't a human being. Judges told me so.

I suppose the decision has a certain amount of logic to it: If you can deliberately abort a child, why should it be a crime to negligently abort one?

The strange things one must be required to believe in order to fully support abortion on demand, no questions asked, just seem to continue growing in number.

Excellent Point By SobekPundit:

Interestingly, this descision does not rest on the "reasonsing" (such as it is) behind Roe v. Wade, which expressly recognized that a state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn. Roe decided that the woman's interest in individual autonomy trumps the state's interest (and, presumably, the fetus' interest in not having its arms torn out of their sockets).

But what interest is the Hawai'i Supreme Court trying to protect? It's not the mother's reproductive autonomy; the mother's interest in getting loaded? Since when is that a Constitutionally protected interest?

In fairness, crystal meth -- or, as I call it, "rock sugar" -- is really, really good.

I'm sure that somewhere in the Constitution there's a "penumbra" guaranteeing my right to get really cranked up on meth and then light sleeping hobos on fire.

But...

Hubris actually bothers to read the case, and finds it turns on statutory construction:

I skimmed over the actual decision. The court was applying Hawaii's statutory definition of "person":
HRS § 707-702(1)(a) states that "[a] person commits the offense of manslaughter if . . . [h]e recklessly causes the death of another person." HRS § 707-702(1)(a). The HPC generally defines "person" as "any natural person." HRS § 701-118(7) (1993). Furthermore, for the purposes of HRS chapter 707, HRS § 707-700 defines "person" as "a human being who has been born and is alive." HRS § 707-700.

If the statutes say (for the purposes of manslaughter) that a "person" is "a human being who has been born and is alive," how could the court find otherwise on that aspect of the case? There's no way the definition can be met until birth. Am I missing something?

Well... you're right that this seems to be the fault of the legislators, rather than the judges.

To a degree.

But bear in mind: the baby actually was born. The article states that she caused the death of her "newborn son."

Which gets back to the courts' job in interpreting the law. The damage was inflicted when the baby was, according to the statute, "not a human being," but the actual death was caused to (again according to the statute) "human being."

So, it wasn't a human being when she was killing it, but it was one when it was killed.

She did cause the death of a human being, it seems, because it was (as I read it) born alive, but in a deathly condition.


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posted by Ace at 02:31 PM

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