A man who stabbed a pregnant woman multiple times in Belgium will not be prosecuted for the death of her unborn baby.
On Monday, in the Belgian province of Liège, a man, named only as Aslan, stabbed a woman numerous times in the face and neck after an argument broke out. The mother is currently in hospital in intensive care, but her unborn baby did not survive.
The man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder but prosecutors say no charge can be brought for the death of the unborn baby because the baby was not yet recognised as a person under Belgian criminal law.
“A choice we make”
Criminal lawyer Rik Vanreusel told the BBC that in Belgium a baby in his or her mother’s womb does not exist as a legal entity. This means that if someone were to harm or kill an unborn child, intentionally or not, there are no grounds for prosecution.
He said this legal principle about unborn babies was “a choice we make” and noted that abortion was one reason why the law was structured in this way.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is unsurprising that a society that values abortion cannot, at the same time, value the life of the child who dies through an assault on his or her mother”.
“Belgium’s law, callous as it is, is at least consistent. It accords no status to the life of the unborn child whose life can be ended legally or illegally without any means to prosecute those who are responsible. If only the law was instead consistent in its regard for life in and outside the womb”.