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Unlawful abortion – the sentencing comments of a High Court judge

Date:8 JAN 2024
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Mary Welstead Visiting Professor in Family law University of Buckingham

In June 2023 a custodial sentence was imposed on Ms Foster for procuring a miscarriage of her thirty-four-week-old foetus. Ms Foster a forty-four-year-old mother of three children had returned to live with her estranged partner during the Covid pandemic and had been anxious to keep her pregnancy a secret from him because he was not the prospective father.

The sentence left the children motherless for 28 months. The judge acknowledged the controversial nature of the law. However it was not for the courts to address this; it was a question of ethics and social policy and the responsibility of Parliament.

Ms Foster appealed against the sentence. The Court of Appeal gave a summary of its judgment which would be published at a later date and substituted a suspended sentence of fourteen months and rehabilitation for the custodial sentence. Ms Foster was of no risk to her family or the public and there was no likelihood of a repetition of the offence; she was to be released immediately (R v Carla...

Read the full article here.