Court: Women Giving Birth Without Medical Help Cannot Face Criminal Liability

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BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that women who give birth without medical assistance will not be subjected to criminal liability.

The Supreme Judicial Court, in a ruling Friday, overturned the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a Milford woman whose nearly full-term baby was found in January 2007 as haulers were collecting trash in her neighborhood.

The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the conviction, ruling that because prosecutors had not proved that the baby was born alive or that calling for medical help would have saved his life, there was not enough evidence to show that Allissa Pugh’s failure to call for help was the cause of the baby’s death.

Pugh claimed she believed she was only three months pregnant and possibly having a miscarriage when she gave birth.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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