UPDATE: Zoe’s Law has been passed by the NSW Lower House, 63 votes to 26.
The bill now moves to the upper house where it will be debated. If passed, Zoe’s Law will change the Crimes Act so that any foetus more than 20 weeks old –or weighing more than 400g – will be regarded as a person when it comes to charging someone with grievous bodily harm.
Opponents of the law worry about the affect it could have on abortion laws.
If you’re not familiar with Zoe’s Law, here’s is a cheat sheet Mamamia previously ran.
By CATHERINE HENRY
It was a terrible tragedy. Brodie Donegan was 32 weeks pregnant when she was hit by a car on the NSW central coast. The driver was high on a cocktail of drugs, including methadone.
As a result of the accident, Brodie lost her baby, who she called Zoe. The woman driver responsible was charged with grievous bodily harm – a criminal offence under the Crimes Act – for the injury she inflicted on the mother. But she couldn’t be charged with a separate offence of injuring Zoe, as the law currently sees a woman and the unborn baby as one and the same.
1. Should we change the law?
Today, MPs in the NSW Legislative Assembly will be asked to consider an amendment to the Crimes Act known as ‘Zoe’s Law’. The changes, if passed, will mean that any foetus more than 20 weeks old –or weighing more than 400g – will be regarded as a person when it comes to charging someone with grievous bodily harm. In other words, someone who damages a foetus will be responsible for injuring it, separate to any injury they cause to the mother.