‘No one has the right to judge you’ was one of the last posts made on Facebook by Staffordshire ‘mum’ (as the papers are calling her) Carla Foster shortly before discovering that, strictly speaking, this wasn’t quite true. It may well be the mantra by which everybody lives their lives these days, used to justify a myriad of anti-social behaviour stuff and bad life choices and stupidity, but it is in general a delusion. Judging people is an important part of maintaining a stable society – and we all do it. More pertinently, though, in the case of Ms Foster, it was Mr Justice Pepperall who did the judging at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court and, hours after that Facebook post, sentenced her to two years and four months. As a consequence, outrage erupted and even as I write this, the lava is still flowing.
The facts are straightforward and undisputed, even if Foster was a little late in changing her plea to ‘guilty’. A mother of three, she had become pregnant once more and decided – again, very late in the day – that she did not wish to have the baby. She knowingly lied to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service about her stage of pregnancy in order to obtain the drugs which would induce an abortion and the BPAS, not terribly rigorous in its procedures during Covid, it seems to me, bunged her the dope in the post. Foster was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant when she took the medication. Another couple of weeks and killing the child would have cost her a life sentence.
The outrage is because she has been punished at all and, particularly, been given a (partly) custodial sentence. There has not been the slightest whiff of outrage or even vague misgiving over the fate of the child – but then, this is absolutely par for the course these days, as we see every time the abortion issue is debated.