Select Page

Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruled 1Dec that 32-year-old Tayshea A., whose son died 2 days after she smoked crystal methamphetamine on the day of his birth, was not guilty of manslaughter, overturning a previous court’s ruling.

The court’s ruling was based on the legal notion that an unborn child is not a person under the law and so no person was harmed when

Aiwohi used the drug.

No US court has convicted a woman for the death of an unborn child due to abuse in the womb.

City Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Kim, decried the legal fiction of non-personhood of the unborn saying, “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.”

A report from the National Drug Intelligence Center, says that crystal methamphetamine, known as ‘ice’ on the street, is Hawaii’s greatest drug threat. Honolulu had the highest percentage of adult male arrestees who tested positive for methamphetamine among cities reporting to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program in 2000.

The Center’s website says that abuse of the drug has caused many abusers to assault and even kill family members, including children.

Aiwohi was shown during the court proceedings to have used the drug on the day of her son Treyson’s birth on July 15, 2001, and he died two days later.

The city medical examiner’s office found high levels of methamphetamine in Treyson’s blood.

Associate Justice Paula Nakayama noted in her decision the irony that an “overwhelming majority” of other courts have upheld convictions of persons inflicting injury on pregnant women causing the death of the newborn child, but it is impossible to prosecute and convict the mother for similar behavior.

The legal confusion caused by the acceptance of abortion on demand and the consequent refusal to recognize the existence of an unborn child, has created a set of irreconcilable conflicts in court cases of this kind.

Nakayama said that the “logical implication” of the decision is that a person cannot be prosecuted for causing the death of a child by injuring the pregnant mother.

[H White, 2 Dec05]