French Court Denies Human Status for Fetus

PARIS, JULY 2, 2001 ( The French Supreme Court has denied the fetus the status of a human being.

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The Friday decision refers to the 1995 case of a drunken driver who crashed into the car of a six-month pregnant woman. After a premature delivery, the baby was stillborn, as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident.

In 1997, a Correctional Court sentenced the driver for involuntary homicide, but a year later the judges annulled the sentence, stating that “the stillborn child is not a person protected by penal law.”

The case was taken to the Supreme Court, which subsequently ruled that a fetus cannot be the victim of a homicide because it is “not a person” and, therefore, does not enjoy the “protection accorded by penal law to physical persons.”

According to the court, one can only speak of a “person” if “a being has come into the world.”

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