A baby girl is dead in Bakersfield, California after police say the mother asked her boyfriend punch her in the stomach repeatedly to kill the girl before she was born.
KBAK reports the infant was born with a fractured skull on May 24 at Kern Medical Center. Authorities estimate the mother was about 30 weeks pregnant, far past the point of viability.
Police said the baby girl’s “traumatic injuries … led to the child’s death.” It is not clear if or how long the infant survived outside the womb.
Here’s more from the report:
Medical staff noted “severe bruising” on the woman’s stomach, which she attributed to a fall while mopping. Skeptical, medical staff alerted police, who came for an interview.
It was during that interview with officers that police report she told them she and her boyfriend agreed for him to beat her in an attempt to kill the baby.
Police say she told them he struck her stomach with his fists “at least 10 times,” after which she “stopped feeling the baby move.”
In a separate interview, police say the boyfriend denied hurting the woman or the unborn child.
There is debate in the law enforcement community about whether this action amounts to a crime.
Even though the baby was viable and her parents allegedly beat her to death, it is not clear if charges will be filed. The reason is because the baby girl was in the womb when she sustained the fatal injuries.
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California penal code defines murder as the “unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought,” though there is an exception for abortion. According to the local news, the law states that murder charges will not be pursued if “the act was solicited, aided, abetted or consented to by the mother of the fetus.”
To most people, charges against the mother and boyfriend would seem obvious, but legalized abortion presents a contradiction about the value of the baby’s life.
The local news interviewed Marylee Shrider, executive director of Right to Life Kern County, about the matter:
Right to Life was quick to point out what they describe as inconsistencies in the law. When a pregnant mother is killed in a murder or a drunk driving crash, government charges defendants with double murder, ascribing personhood to the fetus.
“So the only difference in this case is the mother didn’t want the baby,” Shrider said. “The baby is a human being, or she’s not. The fact that she’s wanted or not wanted is not relevant, it doesn’t make her less human.”
Shrider says the exact wording of the law may be unclear, but she hopes the district attorney pursues murder charges.
A local abortion activist called the situation a “gray area.”
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 38 states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances.