In the states that do or will outlaw abortion, do they have laws in place that state that assault of a pregnant woman which causes the death of a fetus is felony manslaughter/murder, the same crime as if they had caused the death of an autonomous person?
Many states (even ones that did / do not criminalize abortion) have had laws on the books that do just that for many years. It is impossible to generalize though, each state has its own laws.
Iowa continues to have legal abortion, and for some years, if a fetus of any age dies as the result of a crime, even if the mother makes a full recover, the perp can be arrested for, and convicted of, “Nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy.”
Yes, it’s a weird contradiction in the laws. I assume this is common in many states: Even though abortion is legal and not considered murder, if a pregnant woman is assaulted or murdered and the unborn baby dies too, then the death of the baby can be charged as a separate murder. If the mother dies, that could be two counts of murder.
I was asking about the complement. In a state where abortion is illegal, do they treat death of an unborn embryo/fetus as the result of assault as murder?
If you want to look at laws from thousands of years ago, Exodus 21:22 states that killing a fetus (striking a woman to cause a miscarriage) is the equivalent of a property crime, pay a fine to her husband.
Nothing weird about it. In many states, if there’s an unwanted intruder in your home, you can shoot him to defend your home. But it’s always illegal to take pot shots at someone else’s house guest. And if you kill the intruder, it’s not murder, but if you kill the houseguest, it is.
What’s weird is that some states, like Texas, now give you more rights to defend your home than to defend your body.
Why is this a “weird contradiction”? Why would the fact that a woman is granted the right to bodily autonomy imply that someone without that right cannot be guilty of murder? I would find it weird if the murder of a woman 2 weeks pregnant were treated as two murders; but not if she were 8 months pregnant.
And the answer is yes, in some states they do and have for many years.
Just realized we’re in FQ, deleting.
No, it wouldn’t.
Excellent cite, thank you.
Oddly, NY did almost the reverse. Until 2019, there were crimes called “abortion” in the first and second degree which criminalized any act committed upon a woman that was intended to cause a miscarriage unless
- It was performed by a licensed physician
- the woman consented
and it was either within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy or it is necessary to preserve the woman’s life.
The penal law specifically defines a person as “a human being who has been born and is alive.”
So pre-2019, if someone assaulted a pregnant woman intending to cause a miscarriage , they could be charged with abortion or the attempt in addition to charges related to the pregnant woman. In 2019, the law changed (in anticipation of this SC decision coming someday ) and “abortion” was completely removed from the penal law.
That was prior to the formation of the United States, so, no.
And yet that same chapter of Exodus prescribes the death penalty for anyone killing a human being. It’s almost as though the Bible is clearly drawing a distinction between actual humans and potential humans, and assigning more importance to the rights of the former. Some people who claim to attach great importance to that book really need to read it a bit more carefully.
Even more than that, before relatively modern times, most pre-modern peoples in the Western world attached moral prominence to pregnancy once “quickening” had occurred (this refers to the baby being detectable as moving within the womb.) While Christian Church doctrine on it was a little sketchy, there was a generalized view that while it was still a type of sin to kill a fetus pre-quickening, it wasn’t considered the same as murder. Early Church leaders generally tried to convey that any abortion was a sin against God, but “ensoulment” was linked to the fetus “being alive” which they linked to the quickening (St. Augustine explains this position.) This was probably not strictly speaking, intended to endorse pre-quickening abortion…but in a matter of practice pre-quickening abortions were fairly common and not that controversial even with Church authorities until the 19th century, when the Pope stepped in to assert exactly the doctrine, which was that abortion at any time was a mortal sin and that ensoulment is not linked to the quickening.
While this talk of morality / theology and the quickening was tightly linked with the Catholic Church, it was common in discussions outside of it as well, with many non-Catholic ethical thinkers and political leaders attaching important to it. Thomas Jefferson for example distinguished between ending a pregnancy pre-/post quickening in one of his writings.