Pennsylvania Unborn Victims Law Goes to Higher Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Unborn Victims Law Goes to Higher Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26, 2003

Erie, PA ( — A woman convicted of third-degree murder for killing an unborn child has lost her case in a lower court.

Corinne Wilcott was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison for killing the unborn baby of a woman who admitted to having an affair with Wilcott’s husband.

Wilcott was charged under the state’s unborn victims law, which allows prosecutors to hold criminals accountable for killing or injuring unborn children.

Erie County Judge John Trucilla last week said the law is constitutional and rejected a motion by Tim Lucas, Wilcott’s attorney, to throw the case out. Lucas said he will take his case against the law’s constitutionality to Pennsylvania Superior Court.

However, he will have a tough time proving his case as courts across the country have upheld similar pro-life laws in every case where they have been challenged.

Pro-life groups say the laws are necessary to curb violence against pregnant women.

"The criminal that causes death or injury to an unborn child shatters the hopes and dreams of parents and should be held accountable. Crimes Against the Unborn Child legislation provides much needed protection for the child against such assaults," said Mary Beliveau, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

Wilcott was angry and jealous when she attacked Sheena Carson after a party in June 2002. Carson said Wilcott dragged her to the ground by her hair and punched and kicked her repeatedly.

Officials say Carson, who was 15 to 17 weeks pregnant at the time, lost the baby as a result of the attack.