It is a question that has been asked repeatedly in state legislatures across the country and in Congress. If a criminal shoots a pregnant mother and kills or injuries her unborn child should he also be held accountable for killing or injuring her baby?
Obviously when a criminal attacks a pregnant mother there is either an assault charge or a murder charge brought by prosecutors. But only two-thirds of States across the United States allow additional criminal charges to be brought for the death of or injury to an unborn baby — even though the child is clearly a second victim in such an attack.
The state of Indiana is the latest to answer this question and remedy the problem of a lack of accountability for killing unborn children.
The Indiana House yesterday approved, by a 96-3 vote, a bill permitting charges of murder, manslaughter and feticide against any person killing an unborn child, at any stage of development, during the commission of a felony. Additionally, should those charges not succeed in a criminal case, it maintains the judge’s ability to add additional sentencing of 6 to 20 years.
“If someone kills a pregnant woman, they should not only be tried for her death, but also the death of the fetus,” said the author of the bill, Sen. Aaron Freeman. Freeman introduced the bill after hearing from a woman in his district whose pregnant daughter was killed in a homicide.
Senate Bill 203, which previously passed the Indiana Senate 42-6, will now head to Governor Holcomb.
“Indiana Right to Life applauds the House passage of SB 203 as a powerful step forward in recognizing and protecting the full humanity of unborn children at any stage of development,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “The recognition of the worth of a child killed during a felony further places Roe v. Wade on a collision course with law and history. We are committed to doubling down on efforts to bring about a majority on the Supreme Court that will strictly interpret the constitution, dismantle Roe, and provide full protection for all unborn children, including those who are targeted for abortion.”