It has been another dramatic month in Teen Mom 2 star Jenelle Evans' chaotic life, with the 21 year old revealing this week that she is pregnant for the second time.
Followers of the wildly popular MTV series will recall that Jenelle signed over custody of her first child, three year old son Jace, to her mother in 2011. At the time, the reality starlet claimed that she regarded the change in custody as temporary and one that would provide her with an opportunity to get her life on track.
Since then, Evans has been repeatedly arrested, for everything from breaking and entering to drug possession. This year alone, she is reported to have recently entered a treatment facility for heroin addiction, and married in a much publicized wedding to fellow convict Courtland Rogers after a courtship of approximately four months.
Alarmingly, just days after revealing her pregnancy, Evans has faced allegations that she has continued to smoke marijuana since discovering she is pregnant. Amidst this revelation, the blogosphere has erupted in an uproar regarding Evans' ability and fitness to parent her unborn child, given her alleged ongoing issues with drug addiction. In particular, commenters have questioned whether she should be permitted to retain custody of the child once it is born.
In Canada, there is presently very little protection afforded to the unborn child. Among few legislative initiatives in this regard, New Brunswick's Family Services Act is the only provincial child welfare legislation to expressly define "child" as including an unborn child. In Alberta, the Maternal Tort Liability Act provides a cause of action to children who sustain injuries in the womb as a result of their mother's negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
In the courts, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to extend rights to unborn children in their rulings to date. For example, in the case of Winnipeg Child & Family Services v. G (D.F), the court ruled that a pregnant woman addicted to sniffing glue could not be held in protective custody until the birth of her child. In the same vein, the Court held in the case of Dobson v. Dobson that a child cannot sue its mother for negligence based on harm caused to the child while it was in the womb. While the Albertan legislation mentioned above carves out an exception to this ruling, there are clearly a number of potential harms to the unborn child that mothers cannot be held responsible for.
Should you have questions or concerns regarding an unborn child, you may need the assistance of an experience family law lawyer. If you need legal advice about your own situation, please call us at 905-415-1636 for a consultation.