Legacy of the Peterson trial: Renewed abortion debate?

Scott Peterson was recently found guilty of the first-degree murder of his wife Laci and the second-degree murder of his unborn son, Connor.

Wikipedia has the following definition:

This seems to imply (at least, IMHO) that Connor–an unborn fetus–was, by legal terms and definitions, a person, and that he was murdered by his father… a pretty definitive statement, as far as legal matters go.

What do you all think of the charge?

Consistant with my pro-choice beliefs is my belief that a fetus is not a person and should not be considered such by the law. Even if in this case the definition is used for a good purpose (to nail a brutal murderer), in the future the anti-abortion folks will seize upon things like this as precedent to outlaw abortion.

I could, however, accept a law that penalizes the murder of pregnant women as a more severe offense.

Since legal definitions vary by state, wouldn’t the appropriate California statute be a better reference then Wikipedia?

Be interesting if he appeals the convictions seperately.

I don’t think this will fuel the debate that much. The Peterson baby was nearly viable- in my opinion much different than the typical first trimester abortion. What this should call attention to is support for the death penalty among many pro-lifers.

It certainly renewed the debate in my office this afternoon.

Not many people paid attention to the Unborn Child Victims of Violence Act signed by President Bush that says:

*The new law recognizes as a legal victim any “child in utero” who is injured or killed during the commission of a federal crime of violence. The bill defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” *

Although Peterson wasn’t tried under this new law (as it wasn’t in effect when Laci and Conner were murdered), it DOES post fuel for the upcoming renewed debate, I think.

Scott Peterson was not charged with a federal crime.

As to the OP, do you really think there are a lot of pro-choice folks out there who think that the unnecessary killing of an 8-month-old fetus is perfectly fine? Sure, to save the life or health of the mother, but where are the people who think that killing Mrs. Peterson was bad, but no big deal with the baby?

True. Sorry if I’d implied differently.

Not at all. It’s just that a lot of folks think that such federal laws override state law, when in reality they apply to hardly any crimes at all.

The text of California Penal Code Section 187:

emphasis added.

So, no. The verdict in this case will not renew the abortion debate except among those people who are not pro-choice but rather pro-abortion, a tiny number of people. The conviction could not have occurred if there were evidence that the woman (Mrs. Peterson, in this case) had chosen not to bring her child to term.