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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Legal Brain Food: UK

Mark Steyn, as usual writing a thought-provoking column.

Here is a little taste:
I happen to believe a lot of what we call "late-term abortion" is in reality early-term infanticide...
There is much more to his column, but I've already taken a stab at some of it here. I'll extend on that remark.

At a minimum, every fetus is a potential human life. Nobody becomes a human being without passing through the same phases of development. On the other hand, half of all fertilized eggs don't seat in the uterus, and many other potential humans are 'aborted' naturally.

Women are not incubators. Women should have a choice in whether or not they reproduce. But many in the pro-choice movement seems to think that choice should be extended until the day of delivery. This is particularly strange given the consequences, the killing of a viable human being already demonstrated to be capable of living outside the womb. Therefore, it is incumbent upon women to make their choice quickly. If a woman delays in seeking an abortion, she's made her choice: parenthood or adoption.

Does that seem unreasonable? If so, consider what happens if you delay exercising your rights to mere property. The legal doctrine of laches seems very relevant to me. Laches

LACHES, DOCTRINE OF - Based on the maxim that equity aids the vigilant and not those who procrastinate regarding their rights; Neglect to assert a right or claim that, together with lapse of time and other circumstances, prejudices an adverse party. Neglecting to do what should or could, have been done to assert a claim or right for an unreasonable and unjustified time causing disadvantage to another.

Another wise dissenting voice opposed to the new blasphemy law by another name

The author makes an excellent void-for-vagueness argument. The quote begins with the proposed law.
A person who uses threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting is guilty of an offence if:

a) he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred;

b) having regard to all the circumstances the words, behaviour or material are (or is) likely to be heard or seen by any person in whom they are or it is likely to stir up religious hatred.

This is an extremely wide and imprecise definition of a crime. Baroness Cox recently asked the Government for examples of behaviour which have come to the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service over the past four years and which could have been prosecuted under the new offence. Baroness Scotland replied that individual cases had not been reviewed and it was not possible to say whether there could have been such prosecutions.
[emphasis mine]

Will the UK sacrifice freedom of expression to return to the bad old days of blasphemy laws? The definition of the 'crime' encourages individuals who want to stifle freedom of speech to be more thin-skinned. In these PC times, that's a recipe for disaster.

Notice how subsection (b) turns personal responsibility for one's actions and one's emotions on its head? It encourages the court to use creativity in punishing blasphemy. Pope Innocent III and Simon de Montfort must be very proud. Beziers (French accent marks, feh) will be burning in no time, and the dungeons will finally see some action again.

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