Fort Hood Shooter Faces More Charges, None for Killing Pregnant Soldier’s Baby
by Steven Ertelt
December 4, 2009
Fort Hood, TX (LifeNews.com) — Army officials have filed more charges against Nidal Malik Hasan, who stands accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian in last month’s shooting. However, the charges do not include any for killing soldier Francheska Velez’s unborn child, despite requests from pro-life groups.
Hasan was charged with 32 additional counts of premeditated attempted murder for the shooting of 30 military personnel and two civilians.
Those charges are in addition to the 13 counts of murder he already faces, but they do not include charges that could be brought under the national Unborn Victims of Violence Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush.
That law provides added justice for pregnant women and their unborn children by allowing prosecutors to charge attackers for the killing of or injury to an unborn child in the commission of a crime against her mother.
Jill Stanek, a pro-life blogger and nurse, notice the omission and said the military need to bring the additional charge for the death of the baby.
"The Army dishonors not only Velez’s baby but Velez by ignoring his murder," she said. "And the Army ignores the law by doing so, namely the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a federal law passed in 2004 that also codified the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
The charges should include "the charge of murder against Pvt. Francheska Velez’s preborn baby, killed when she was killed," Stanek maintained.
"Velez was only at Ft. Hood to begin with because of her baby," she said, noting that Velez was expecting a baby boy in May.
Last month, the Alliance Defense Fund pro-life legal group issued a letter to the Office of Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Hood, Texas, urging it to enforce the law by bringing the fourteenth charge.
"All murder victims–born and pre-born–deserve equal justice," ADF senior legal counsel Steven Aden told LifeNews.com at the time. "Women who volunteer to protect our country deserve to know that the government will enforce the laws that protect their children."
The ADF letter urges enforcement of Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which makes it a crime for anyone "to cause the death…of a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place" regardless of whether the killer intended to kill the child.
If the killer intended to kill the child, he can be prosecuted for murder under Article 118.
"According to press accounts, Private Velez had returned to America from Iraq a week before the shooting," the letter states.
"Private Velez was three months pregnant and was excited about being a new mother. She was scheduled to begin maternity leave next month. She was filling out paperwork relating to her pregnancy when she and her child were killed," the ADF letter reads.
"It would cause a severe and negative impact on morale if Army women were made to believe that the Army valued their children less than they did adult victims of crime. We respectfully request that you enforce UCMJ Article 119a against the suspect," the letter says.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice was modified when President George W. Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2004.
As LifeNews.com opinion columnist Maria Vitale wrote, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conners law, is named for the pregnant woman and unborn baby who were murdered in California by Scott Peterson, the babys father.
"It would seem that the law applies in this case for three reasons: the act of violence was committed on federal property the shooting was allegedly done by a member of the military and the violence could be classified as an act of terrorism," she explains.
Also, under Texas law that took effect in September 2003, the protections of the entire criminal code extend to an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.
"The Obama Administration has a moral obligation to press for prosecution of Hasan under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. If such a legal path is ignored, it will demonstrate to the world that the President is caving in to a pro-abortion lobby who will not recognize the legal rights of any child in the wombeven a child whose mother desperately longs to give birth," Vitale concludes.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.