Texas Pregnant Woman’s Death Could Bring Unborn Victims Law Into Play

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 14, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Pregnant Woman’s Death Could Bring Unborn Victims Law Into Play

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
October 14, 2003

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The high-profile murder of a 35-year-old pregnant woman could be the first application of Texas’ new Prenatal Protection Act.

Christina Moore, who was 3 months pregnant, was found stabbed to death in her home on September 23. To date, police have not named any suspects or filed charges.

"I have spoken to the DA in that county," Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life told LifeNews.com. "He is very eager to prosecute two counts of homicide, once a suspect is named."

"If the investigation determines that the unborn child died as a result of the stabbing death of Ms. Moore, this would be the first known application of the Prenatal Protection Act," said Poijman.

The Texas law, which took effect September 1, makes Texas one of 28 states that make the killing of an unborn child a homicide. Some 15 of these states, including Texas, extend the protection for the entire term of prenatal development. In 38 states, parents can sue for the wrongful death of an unborn child.

As it is the first application of the law, opponents, namely pro-abortion groups, will be hoping for its constitutionality to be questioned. Poijman said he is confident it will not be overturned, as similar laws in other states have never been successfully challenged.

"Roe v. Wade protects the woman’s right of choice; it does not protect, much less confer on an assailant, a third-party unilateral right to destroy the fetus," states the opinion from Minnesota v. Merrill, one of several opinions cited by Poijman.

A poll of Texans conducted by Scripps-Howard showed an overwhelming support (78%) of the Prenatal Protection Law.

The Prenatal Protection Law, originally Senate Bill 319, authored by Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria) and Rep. Ray Allen (R-Grand Prairie), recognizes unborn children as victims of crimes of homicide and assault.

It extends the definition of personhood to include unborn children "at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth" in the Texas Penal Code, thereby establishing criminal penalties for a third party who wrongfully injures or kills an unborn child in the womb against the mother’s wishes, such as in assault, drunk driving, and negligence.

"The tragic murder of Christina Moore and her unborn child buttresses the need for laws such as the Prenatal Protection Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act," Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life told LifeNews.com. "There are two victims of these crimes, and the perpetrator should be held accountable for having murdered two people."