Fetal Homicide: Crime or Accodent?

Essay by ashley421069University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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When a criminal attacks a pregnant woman, killing or injuring her and/or her unborn child, has he or she claimed one victim, or two? Over the past few years, we, as Americans, have considered that question in light of the much-publicized cases involving the unfortunate deaths of unborn children and/or their mothers. The term that is being used in court cases across the United States that refers to the death of an unborn child resulting from a criminal act is fetal homicide. Fetal homicide has become the topic on many American minds. I believe, along with many other Americans, that when a criminal is found to be responsible for the death of an unborn child, he or she should be charged with the murder of that fetus. Fetal homicide has become a major focus of many Americans throughout the United States. The reason for this extra attention is because of the many cases of fetal homicide showing up across the nation.

During March of 2003 in Pennsylvania, a woman was "convicted of murder after she kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach during a fight" (Jennings), which resulted in the death of the woman's fetus. In Stanton, Kentucky in 2002, a woman was struck by a drunk driver which resulted in the birth of a stillborn baby (Yetter). In Pike County Kentucky in 2001, a man lost both his wife and unborn child as the result of a car accident caused by a drug-impaired driver (Yetter). The most recent case is the double-murder case in California, in December 2002, in which a man is charged with the murder of his wife and their unborn child (Jennings). From California to Maine, every state has heard of or been involved in a fetal homicide case. These are just a few of the...