by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 27, 2004
Evansville, IN (LifeNews.com) — An Indiana court will hear oral arguments this fall to determine whether an unborn baby is a child under state law.
The legal case revolves around a traffic accident in July, 2001, that killed a woman’s unborn baby. The woman, Brittany Horn, survived, but her unborn child, Libby Ann, did not. Horn was six months pregnant at the time of the crash.
Horn buried her daughter in a child’s casket — a tribute to the baby’s humanity.
The Evansville woman sued the other driver, seeking burial and funeral expenses. But there’s been no ruling on fault in the crash because of the dispute over whether Horn’s baby fits the legal definition of a child.
A Vanderburgh Superior Court judge dismissed the case in January, but Horn appealed.
"The Indiana Court of Appeals has an opportunity with this appeal to correct a grievous wrong at the lower court level,” said Mike Fichter, Executive Director of Indiana Right to Life.
“Brittany Horn’s unborn child Libby Ann was a viable infant when she lost her life in the 2001 car accident, yet Vanderburgh County Superior Court Judge Scott Bowers rejected the mother’s suit for damages and funeral expenses as if no life was lost," Fichter explained. "Brittany Horn did not hold a funeral services for a mass of tissue, but for the daughter she loved."
"We are hopeful for a landmark ruling recognizing Libby Ann Horn as a person in every sense of the word,” Fichter added.
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the case Nov. 18 at the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, a 20-year-old East Liverpool man is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of a pregnant 21-year-old woman.
Police say Brandon W. Johnson murdered Tiffany Faulk just after midnight August 17. Faulk died from severe head trauma. While the murder weapon has not been revealed, witnesses say they saw police recover a baseball bat from the scene.
County Coroner Dr. William Graham called the homicide “a vicious attack.” Graham added that “A double homicide did occur,” noting that Faulk’s 15-week-old fetus also died as a result of the assault.
Faulk reportedly knew her attacker, but it is not known whether they were romantically involved.
Crimes against unborn children have received national attention in recent years.
The Laci and Conner Peterson murder case in California, for instance, has raised new awareness about the devastation caused by violence against pregnant women. Dozens of states now have laws on the books, recognizing the rights of unborn victims of crime.