Arizona Case Focuses on Need for Unborn Victims Laws

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Case Focuses on Need for Unborn Victims Laws

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
March 2, 2004

Tucson, AZ ( — An Arizona case is focusing new attention on the fate of unborn victims of violent crime.

Twenty-year-old Melinda Alma Gonzalez was three months pregnant when she was murdered. Her family believes she was killed by the man who may have been her unborn baby’s father.

Twenty-two-year-old Raymond Carrasco Garcia of Tucson was arrested last week and charged with Melinda’s murder. Melinda’s unborn baby also died as a result of the crime.

Melinda’s father, Guadalupe Gonzalez, told the Tucson Citizen newspaper that his daughter was trying to collect child support from Garcia, who is the father of her year-old son. Melinda’s body was found in Tucson Mountain Park. Guadalupe Gonzalez was told that his daughter apparently died from a gunshot wound to the head.

While there was no father’s name listed on her son Diego’s birth certificate, Garcia was in the process of taking a paternity test to determine if he was the father.

Guadalupe Gonzalez told the newspaper he learned about his daughter’s latest pregnancy Feb. 16. He has four grandchildren, but told the Tucson Citizen, "I would have had five with (the) one she was carrying."

Arizona currently has a law on the books designed to punish those who kill an unborn baby, but Arizona Right to Life, the state affiliate of National Right to Life, would like to see the law strengthened.

Currently, the Arizona fetal homicide law only recognizes the unborn child as a victim when the crime results in the mother’s death.

Arizona Right to Life is calling upon the state legislature "to strengthen Arizona’s fetal homicide statute by revising the language to ensure that violent acts committed against unborn children are recognized even if the mother does not die," according to the group’s recent news release.

A bill strengthening the fetal homicide law is already prepared and is ready to be introduced, Arizona Right to Life says.

The issue of violence against unborn children takes on new urgency this week, as the U.S. Senate may vote on the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s Law. Laci Peterson, a pregnant California woman, was murdered along with her unborn son Conner in a nationally publicized murder case. Her husband and the child’s father, Scott Peterson, is being tried for the crime.

Laci and Conner’s Law would recognize as a federal crime victim any child in utero who is injured or killed during a federal crime of violence.

Sharon Rocha, Conner’s grandmother, has been urging the Senate to pass the law, noting, "…Our grandson did live. He had a name, he was loved, and his life was violently taken from him before he ever saw the sun."

Related web sites:
Arizona Right to Life –