The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a significant ruling Tuesday that affirms the value of babies in the womb.
However, the scope of the ruling is limited to viable unborn babies who are killed in acts of violence against their mothers. When it comes to abortion, Massachusetts law still treats unborn babies as disposable.
Bloomberg Law reports the state Supreme Judicial Court decided that “personhood rights” apply to viable unborn babies who are killed when their mothers are victims of homicide.
A man convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and her nine-month unborn baby in 2009 brought the case to the court, arguing that judges should not be the ones to decide “at what point, if ever, a fetus attains personhood for the purposes of the law of homicide,” according to the lawsuit.
The man also argued that because he did not directly injure the unborn baby in the attack and the baby died because of the mother’s blood loss, he should not be convicted of first-degree murder, the report continues.
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However, the court justices disagreed, ruling: “The defendant committed an act of violence against a woman who was nine months pregnant, repeatedly stabbing her. By ending the mother’s life, he destroyed the viable fetus through the cessation of life-sustaining maternal blood flow.”
The justices also refused to overturn the 1984 ruling Commonwealth v. Cass, which recognizes viable unborn babies as victims of homicide in cases involving crimes against their mothers.
Currently, 38 states have unborn victims of violence laws, according to National Right to Life. Notably, New York lawmakers repealed their law in 2019 as part of a larger pro-abortion bill. As a result, prosecutors had to drop charges against a Rego Park man who allegedly murdered his pregnant girlfriend and her five-month unborn baby that year.
Homicide is one of the top causes of death among pregnant women, according to a 2021 study in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology.” The crime is doubly horrific because it almost always kills a baby in the womb as well as its mother.