Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Judge Shreds Wisconsin Law on Unborn Child Abuse

From Courthouse News Service:

Siding with a woman who spent weeks in jail after she was accused of abusing her unborn child, a federal judge struck down a Wisconsin law that purports to address pregnant women with “habitual lack of self-control.”

Passed in 1997,  Act 292 allowed the state to treat fetuses as children in need of protection or state services if their mothers demonstrate problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

Finding the law unconstitutionally vague on April 27, U.S. District Judge James Peterson rejected Wisconsin’s claims that the statute is merely written in plain English, eschewing “technical words and phrases.”

“The state’s dictionary-definition approach is a festival of circularity, in which the statutory terms are simply replaced with synonyms that add no real meaning,” the 40-page opinion states.

Read more here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2017/05/judge-shreds-wisconsin-law-on-unborn-child-abuse.html

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