After Scott Peterson Prosecution, Attacks on Pregnant Women Continue

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

After Scott Peterson Prosecution, Attacks on Pregnant Women Continue Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 29, 2004

Washington, DC ( — The Scott Peterson case drew national attention to the plight of pregnant women who have become subjects of acts of violence. In many cases, the victims are targeted precisely because they are pregnant and often because they have disagreed with a partner’s suggestion to have an abortion.

While the Peterson case prompted Congress and numerous states to adopt provisions charge criminals with two crimes when they attack pregnant women and kill or injure their unborn children, the attacks continue.

In San Jose, California, authorities are prepared to charge a man who is in custody for suspicion of attacking his girlfriend and killing her unborn child, who was 18 weeks old.

Clifford Beene Watkins choked and kicked the woman on Christmas morning, putting her in the hospital with serious injuries.

The attack caused the death of her baby boy and Watkins could be charged under the same unborn victims law used by prosecutors to convict Peterson of a second murder charge.

Authorities say the 44 year-old man was dating his 25 year-old girlfriend but were not sure if he was the father of the baby.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania officials are looking for a 23-year-old man who shot a pregnant woman in the stomach. Police say the man knew the victim.

The woman was shot on Sunday and remains in serious condition at Mercy Hospital, Uptown, according to Pittsburgh television station WPXI. The condition of the baby was unknown.

In Idaho, Benjamin Arturo Ramirez faces criminal charges related to an alleged assault of his girlfriend with a knife. He also kicked her in the stomach.

According to police reports, Ramirez attacked his girlfriend in an attempt to kill her unborn baby. Police say he is not the father of the child.

Like California, Pennsylvania and Idaho have laws providing for second charges related to the death of an unborn child.