Abortion Advocates Misuse Iowa Case to Attack Unborn Victims of Violence Laws

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Advocates Misuse Iowa Case to Attack Unborn Victims of Violence Laws

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 15
, 2010

Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are misusing a rare case out of Iowa to attack unborn victims of violence laws that provide justice and protection for pregnant women and their unborn children. A federal version of the law is on the books as are similar measures in 36 states.

The recent case involves Christine Taylor, an Iowa mother of two who was pregnant with her third child at the time, who fell down her stairs during an argumentative phone conversation with her estranged husband.

Taylor went to the emergency room to check on the health of her baby and staff there contacted authorities after she indicated she was considering abortion or adoption of her second-trimester baby.

The Iowa mother eventually found herself arrested and put in jail because local police misunderstood the state’s feticide law (which is technically different from unborn victims laws because it only recognizes the mother, and not the unborn child, as a victim).

The charges against Taylor were ultimately dropped, but that hasn’t stopped blogger Amie Newman at the pro-abortion blog RH Reality Check from making the claim that such laws target women and make it a criminal act to fall down the stairs.

"Pregnant? Don’t Fall Down the Stairs" she writes in her column.

Newman claims "the passage of the UVVA law and the resulting state fetal homicide laws are more about blocking access to abortion and keeping women scared and ‘in line.’"

"[T]hey do have the power to be – and have been – wielded like weapons against pregnant women like Christine Taylor," she writes. "What kind of messages are we sending to pregnant women? Either ask for or seek help and risk being persecuted, maybe even jailed, for reaching out or remain fearful and do not seek out medical attention or services."

However, the Iowa statute in question does not allow for pregnant women to be prosecuted for hurting or killing an unborn child in an accident such as falling down the stairs.

Section 707.8 of the Iowa state code specifically defines the crime as "Nonconsensual termination" which directly implies that this is the ending of the pregnancy without the mother’s consent.

The statute specifically prevents Newman’s suggesting that pregnant women like Taylor will be prosecuted for accidents.

"As used in this section, actions which cause the termination of or serious injury to a pregnancy do not apply to any of the following: a. An act or omission of the pregnant person," the law reads.

The National Council of State Legislatures explains that the law clearly covers either a third party who attacks a pregnant woman or people acting in concert with the pregnant woman (such as the Utah case where the teen hired someone to beat her to induce a miscarriage) and doesn’t cover the pregnant woman herself.

"Iowa Code §707.8 provides penalties for the nonconsensual termination or serious injury to a human pregnancy. Specifically, the law defines penalties for a person who terminates a human pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant person under specified circumstances," it explains.

Most other states in their Unborn Victims laws have clear exceptions for the pregnant woman, abortion, and doctors operating under the standard practice of care.

While the hospital staff in this case may have taken the law into their own hands by failing to understand state law, Taylor’s is a rare and tragic case that doesn’t represent Newman’s assessment of such laws.

That doesn’t stop Newman from calling unborn victims laws a "draconian, hateful, anti-woman, anti-family piece of legislation that harms women and families" — a diagnosis that shows the supposedly pro-woman advocate opposes laws to protect and provide justice for pregnant women.

For pro-life advocates, Newman’s response is an indication that keeping abortion legal is more important than making sure criminals who kill or injure pregnant women and their unborn children are held accountable for both crimes.

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