The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s child protection law does not extend to fetuses or the unborn; consequently, they are excluded from being considered victims of parental neglect.

From the The Morning Call:

“The Supreme Court’s main opinion said the law’s definition of a child does not include fetuses or unborn children, and victims must be children under the Child Protective Services Law.

“The fact that the actor, at a later date, becomes a person who meets one of the statutorily-defined categories of ‘perpetrator’ does not bring her earlier actions — even if committed within two years of the child’s bodily injury — under the CPSL,” Justice Christine Donohue wrote.

The dissenting justices said the protections should extend to the point after which a child is born and damage or injury from prior actions can be observed.

The originating case involved a newborn who spent 19 days in a hospital for treatment of dependence and withdrawal symptoms induced by her mother’s pre-natal drug use.

A full copy of the Supreme Court’s opinion can be found HERE.

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