by Steven Ertelt
December 21, 2007
Ft. Lauderdale, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida teen may be held responsible for the death of a teenage girl’s unborn child after he repeatedly hit the girl’s stomach with a football. The end result in the case could determine on the interpretation of a Florida law that protects and provides justice to women and unborn children killed or injured in attacks.
In this case, a 15-year-old boy and a girl the same met on repeated occasions at a playground at a local Boys & Girls Club.
The unnamed boy learned the young girl was pregnant and she told him she would be having the baby in a few months.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the boy, unprompted, began throwing a football at the girl on the playground. The boy moved closed and attempted to hit the girl in the stomach with a purposeful throw.
Police reports the newspaper obtained indicate the boy then immediately ran up to the girl and threw the football twice directly at her stomach.
The teen girl went home and called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital after she began experiencing pain. Once at Plantation General Hospital she gave birth to a premature baby who died later in the day.
The newspaper reported that prosecutors in the case are reviewing it to determine if any charges can be filed.
"This isn’t an easy call," prosecutor Maria Schneider told the Sun-Sentinel. "When somebody shoots somebody in the head, it’s very easy to say they wanted to kill the person. We’re looking at a situation that’s not that cut and dry. We need to look at all of the facts involved."
But Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper told the newspaper the baby’s death wasn’t accidental.
"He hit her twice," Perper said. "You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know that if you hit a woman who is pregnant in the belly, that you can cause an abortion."
The outcome of the case could depend on how prosecutors and courts read Florida’s unborn victims law, one of 37 in the nation that protect pregnant women and their unborn children.
Unlike the laws in 27 other states, Florida’s only offers protection and justice when the baby is an "unborn quick child" — and then the death of the baby is treated by law the same as the death of another person.
Other provisions cover the killing of an "unborn quick child" as manslaughter and it defines the term in the same way as other states define the term "viable fetus." In this case, Florida statute says "a fetus is viable when it becomes capable of meaningful life outside the womb through standard medical measures."
Because the baby died and was apparently incapable of living after birth, the boy could escape charges in the death and only face prosecution for the attack on the teenage girl.
Schneider said the decision on how to proceed will be made in the coming weeks.