Is it murder or abortion?

I think I may have started a thread about this a long time ago, but was never really satisfied with the responses I received.

Why is it that if a pregnant woman is murdered it is also considered the murder of her unborn child and the person is charged with a double homicide?
In a country where abortion is legal in most states this does not make much sense to me.
Why does whether the mother want to keep the child or not determine if it was a murder?
It would seem to me either all terminations of pregnancies in unnatural ways would have to classified as murder or none of them Is the current system a double standard?
If a person causes a woman to miscarriage by…for example beating her in the stomach, are they usually charged with murder?

This is the way society (minus pro-lifers) wants it. A murder is just an illegal killing as defined by the law…no absolute truths involved. I’m not sure that involuntary ‘abortion’ is considered murder in all circumstances in all 50 states.

Didn’t Dubya just sign a bill that states that unborn babies who die in a murder are considered “murdered?” I don’t know how it works, but it sounds like it will be a law in all 50 states if his bill goes through the way he wants it to. Abortion is definitely taking a hit in this presidency.

This was fallout from the Lacy Peterson case, BTW.

That’s correct, sir.


I was under the impression that the law in question only applied to killings that take place on federal lands. So someone who shoots and kills a pregnant woman in Yosemite gets two charges, whereas someone who does it in Boise only gets a single.

Or maybe I’m all turned around, but I swear I remember something being said about this.


well thank you for not answering any questions :rolleyes:

Cites on Bush’s recent bill signing from the New York Post and the Washington Post.

Because, as Zwaldd said, that’s how the majority of us want it. Murder is an unlawful killing. Lawful killings include self-defense, defense of others, and abortion. Since abortion is lawful, it can’t legally be murder. If you want to redefine murder to mean an unethical killing, well, that’s a whole other thread.

It would seem to me that your view is overly simplistic and misguided. Like I said before, legal terminations cannot be murder because of the definition of the word. The current system isn’t a double standard, it simply makes a very basic distinction between lawful and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

I don’t know about being charged with murder, but they would certainly be charged with assault and battery at the very least.

In UK law, a similar case did happen… A man stabbed his pregnant girlfriend, and caused a premature birth. The baby later died.

The courts ruled that

a) You could not kill a fetus (You must be born to die, basically)
b) By causing the fetus to be born premature, you are not “murdering” it.

UK homicide

Note that in the above link, the attacker “did the deed” of murder of the baby, but did not have the neccessary intent to kill the baby, and therefore was only charged with manslaughter of the baby.

Of course, it seems that the new bill being passed in the US will make it possible to kill a fetus, and therefore make it easier to get a charge for murder of a fetus.

I personally think that giving a fetus rights seperate from the mother makes it a LOT more problematic, though… it looks like the US is headed towards Master Wang-Ka’s vision of pregnant women being held in pens for the fetus’ safety…

If you drive while pregnant, and you hit a tree, you get charged with manslaughter? How about if you cross a street without checking both ways, and get hit by a truck? Or hell, even if you smoke - battery? Poisoning?

I think this is a knee jerk reaction that should be very carefully thought about…

For that matter, why can the mother murder the baby without the fathers consent, but the father cannot murder the baby without the mothers consent(sneaking the “morning after” pill in your girlfriends breakfast) ? Why would any state allow any baby to be aborted/murdered against the biological fathers consent?

Laws are not logical, and that is why it doesnt make sense to you. Their is no constitutional requirement for any law the legislature passes to “make sense”.

Killing a baby is murder, whether the baby is inside a placenta or not, the physical location of where a baby is does not change it.

The only exception I know of for justifyably killing someone without it being a crime, is in self defense. Thus, a mother “could” kill her baby to save her own life - but I dont personally know any mother who would kill her own child to save her own life, and I seriously dont want to meet anyone who does think that way.

Because the supporting legal principle of abortion isn’t that mothers are allowed to murder their kids. It’s that women can not be forced to carry an unwanted child to term.

So, under what circumstances precisely would you support a woman being forced to give birth to your child against her will?

That was in reply to the OP, not Susanann.

I like how pro-choicers characterize themselves as the majority (“the majority of the U.S, minus those who disagree with us, who don’t count”)

Most women who are pregnant want to carry their child to term. Therefore, if a woman is killed along with her unborn child, the death of the child is almost always not what she would want for it. It is amusing that feminists are the ones against a law which provides an extra deterrent for killing women.

Erm, look at it this way.

Billy and Teddy are on their way to a warehouse district, where Billy plans to shoot Teddy in the back of the head and dump his corpse in the river.

However, on the way, Freddy carjacks them, shooting Teddy and killing him instantly. Billy is left standing on the side of the road.

Who did what crime? Billy never murdered anyone, though Freddy certainly did. The fact that Billy was going to kill Teddy or not anyway does not make Freddy’s killing of Teddy irrelevant.

However, in the abortion situation, there is an interesting case of a fetus being treated as a person in one case, and not as a person in another case that adds a twist to the concept. The difference in this case is the will of the mother - since the fetus is an extension of her body, it can be argued to be her choice in terminating it or not. That is why the law is fuzzy.

How does the foetus murder law work if:

(a) the murderer doesn’t know the woman is pregnant when he kills her?

(b) the woman and her family didn’t know she was pregnant? (eg it’s only discovered at post mortem she was a few weeks gone)


Except that when the baby, as you put it, is in utero, it is most assuredly not considered murder. Therefore, the physical location makes all the difference in the world.

You are aware of this, aren’t you?



Killing a baby is murder, whether the baby is inside a placenta or not, the physical location of where a baby is does not change it.

No. It is still considered murder.

It currently may be legalized murder in a few countries today(e.g. the United States after 1974) but taking the life of another with no justification is murder. It always has been murder, and it always will be murder.

If the Supreme Court tomorrow said that our laws against stealing are unconstitutional, or that slavery is ok, stealing would still be stealing, and slavery would still be wrong.

There is no word to differentiate legal slavery or stealing with illegal slavery or stealing. Murder is specifically illegal killing. The word (phrase, actually) you’re looking for is ‘something I don’t approve of’.


There is no such thing as legalized murder. Murder is (stay with me here, and take note that I’m typing very slowly) illegal. Doesn’t matter where you are or what year it is. And since it is illegal, then performance of a legal procedure (abortion, just in case you were wondering) cannot, by definition, constitute murder.

Now, you may consider it, in your opinion, to be murder. And you’re perfectly welcome to have and express whatever opinion that you desire. But as long as abortion is a legal procedure in the US, it will not be murder. Your histrionics to the contrary notwithstanding.

And just in case you were wondering, there is no way in hell that the Supremes are going to declare laws against stealing and slavery unconstitutional. But thanks so very much for injecting some more hand-wringing and wailing into this conversation. One can never have too much overwrought nonsense, I always say.