There are many tales of woe on this blog about how the law treats families. But however bad things are over here, it could be worse. This article about a frankly horrendous state of affairs in the US is an upsetting reminder of that very point. It strikes me that any pregnant 15 year old with a cocaine habit has probably already been failed by her own parents and deserves some help rather than prosecution for the “depraved heart murder” of her foetus, stillborn at 36 weeks. However wrong we get it, somewhere else can create an even more warped and wrongheaded system.
One attempt at improving things for women is the so-called Clare’s Law, which involves a proposal to inform women of their new partner’s violent past. On one level this sounds like a good idea, but the parallel with Sarah’s Law makes me twitchy, and I wonder if this relies upon a slightly simplistic understanding of how vulnerable women get themselves into abusive relationships, and the difficulties they often face extracting themselves from those relationships and in picking better next time around.