Hawaii high court says fetus not a person, reverses mother’s manslaughter charge

.- Yesterday, the Hawaii state Supreme Court handed over a precedent-setting opinion, ruling that 32-year old Tayshea Aiwohi could not be convicted of killing her unborn child, because at the time, it was not a “person.”

In July of 2001, Aiwohi gave birth to her son, Treyson, who died two days later due to his mother’s use of methamphetamine while she was pregnant.

She was initially convicted of manslaughter but was able to appeal the decision all the way to the high court. To date, no appeals court in the U.S. has ever upheld an manslaughter charge for a mother who caused the death of her child while pregnant.

In their Thursday decision, all five of Hawaii’s Supreme Court Justices agreed that the charge should be overturned because, they said, the child was not a “person” when Aiwohi smoked the drug.

When he was born, Treyson was found to have had high levels of methamphetamine in his system and Aiwohi even admitted to having taken a “hit” on the morning of his birth.

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, City Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Kim, who handled the trial and appeal, was disappointed in the decision. "We continue to believe that babies such as Treyson Aiwohi deserve the protection of the law," he said.

"And we also continue to believe that people like Tayshea Aiwohi doing what she did to her baby continue to deserve to suffer the consequences of the law for those actions."

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