Laying in [Wait]: Pregnancy Support Lessons from the Brehon Laws

Posted: 15 May 2012

Date Written: April 24, 2012


Comparing the Irish Brehon legal system with modern U.S. law, this paper charts prenatal parental duties in relation to societal values and ultimately asserts that fully securing children’s well being requires that states’ current child support frameworks extend to provide financial support during pregnancy via temporary support orders. Part I discusses law and society’s symbiotic relationship. Part II examines pregnancy protections in U.S. law, first using a brief historical review. Then, this section analyzes pregnancy support’s omission from the child support legal provisions and the extent that current U.S. law might break from standing social values. This paper then discusses potential consequences arising from the law’s failure to fully hold both parents accountable for their child’s prenatal protections. Part III considers pregnancy provisions under Brehon law, illustrating the law’s close relationship with Irish society. Part IV proposes that an effective means of providing financial support during pregnancy already exists in temporary support orders. Finally, this paper scrutinizes temporary support orders in the pregnancy context.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Ireland, Brehon, common law, gender, equality, child support

Suggested Citation

Jacob, Katherine, Laying in [Wait]: Pregnancy Support Lessons from the Brehon Laws (April 24, 2012). Available at SSRN:

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