The main aim of the Swedish Women's Peace reform in 1998 was to enhance criminal legal protection for women exposed to violence in heterosexual relationships and to promote gender equality. However, these ambitions risk being contravened in a masculinist criminal legal system. One problem concerns how the victim is constructed in criminal legal cases. The author argues that moral balancing and discourses of responsibility and guilt in Swedish cases constrain the agency possible for women and suggest that a more comprehensive policy in Sweden must be developed to include violent men, their agency, and their responsibility for the violence.
Abortion, particularly later-term abortion, and neonaticide, selective non-treatment of newborns, are feasible management strategies for fetuses or newborns diagnosed with severe abnormalities. However, policy varies considerably among developed nations. This article examines abortion and neonatal policy in four nations: Israel, the US, the UK and Denmark. In Israel, late-term abortion is permitted while non-treatment of newborns is prohibited. In the US, on the other hand, later-term abortion is severely restricted, while treatment to newborns may be withdrawn. Policy in the UK and Denmark bridges some of these gaps with liberal abortion and neonatal policy. Disparate policy within and between nations creates practical and ethical difficulties. Practice diverges from policy as many practitioners find it difficult to adhere to official policy. Ethically, it is difficult to entirely justify perinatal policy in these nations. In each nation, there are elements of ethically sound policy, while other aspects cannot be defended. Ethical policy hinges on two underlying normative issues: the question of fetal/newborn status and the morality of killing and letting die. While each issue has been the subject of extensive debate, there are firm ethical norms that should serve as the basis for coherent and consistent perinatal policy. These include 1) a grant of full moral and legal status to the newborn but only partial moral and legal status to the late-term fetus 2) a general prohibition against feticide unless to save the life of the mother or prevent the birth of a fetus facing certain death or severe pain or suffering and 3) a general endorsement of neonaticide subject to a parent's assessment of the newborn's interest broadly defined to consider physical harm as well as social, psychological and or financial harm to related third parties. Policies in each of the nations surveyed diverging from these norms should be the subject of public discourse and, where possible, legislative reform.
Liveborn anencephalic infants cannot be used legally as sources for vital organs in the United States and Canada. Understandably, knowledgeable physicians and bioethicists are divided over the ethics of such use and hold various views on whether the legal status of anencephalic newborns should ever be changed. Even if anencephalic newborns could be utilized as organ sources, at best a few hundred infants needing transplant organs would be saved each year. Primarily, this is because the number of anencephalic newborns is likely to diminish due to prenatal diagnosis resulting in abortions. However, the case of anencephalic infants and their treatment is paradigmatic in raising questions far beyond mere organ transplantation.... This analytical report is given against the backdrop of a burgeoning medical technology which can sustain human life far beyond that generally regarded as a meaningful, functional life. The report has three sections: first, a description of the approaches to the use of anencephalic infants in North America over the last five years; second, a summary of the results of a survey of informed clinicians and ethicists; and third, an indication of the leading ethical issues raised by human individuals at the border of life.