The justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, in keeping with their tendency to lean toward pro-abortion rulings, have decided to reserve their judgment – probably for several months – in a case involving a New Brunswick boy who is suing his mother for injuries sustained in a car crash while he was still in her womb.

Nonetheless, they offered strong indications that they are not prepared to open a “Pandora’s Box” of rights for unborn children by letting the case proceed.

“It’s a legislature undertaking that is difficult for the courts to do,” said Chief Justice Antonio Lamer – who failed to note that the Supreme Court had no compunction to supersede elected legislatures when it threw out laws on abortion in the 1988 Morgentaler case.

Several of the judges referred to a previous ruling that refused to acknowledge human rights before birth in suggesting they won’t let the current case proceed. Last year, it decided that a pregnant woman could not be detained in order to protect her unborn child.

Lamer said the court would set an “alarming precedent” if it ruled in favour of Ryan Dobson, who was born disabled after his mother Cynthia was involved in a car accident on a snowy road in Moncton in 1993.

Ryan’s maternal grandfather filed the lawsuit on his behalf in 1995.

Lamer said that if the Dobson case was allowed to move forward, a pregnant woman could be sued if she failed to pick up her other children’s toys, tripped over one, and injured her unborn child. A pregnant smokercould also be sued, he posited.

The New Brunswick Supreme Court last year ruled that the case could proceed, noting that pregnant women have a duty to ther unborn children, and the public, to drive carefully.

Lawyers say that the case marks the first time in Canada that a child has tried to sue his mother for injuries suffered while in the womb. Several similar cases have, however, been launched in the U.S.

Both pro-life and pro-abortion groups have made submissions in the case.

Canadian Abortion Rights Action League lawyer Beth Symes argued that a ruling against Cynthia Dobson would “set pregnant women back to the previous century,” when they “hid inside and avoided any activity that could harm their ‘fetuses’ during pregnancy.”

But David Brown, a lawyer for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said Ryan should be able to sue for damages.