Should killing a fetus be a crime?

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill, 243-42, that would allow judges to hand out stiffer sentences when a fetus is killed when the mother dies as a result of a homicide.

Not what you thought from the headline, is it? You might have though it was about killing a fetus in an abortion.

Yet, there are all kinds of implications to penalizing someone who kills a fetus as a result of an attack, whether accidental or intention, on the mother. Does it matter if the mother lives or dies in the attack? Some would argue that penalties should be attached for killing a fetus only if the mother survives.

Reported the Associated Press:

Under current [New Hampshire] law, if an assault results in a miscarriage or stillbirth and the mother survives, a judge can sentence the assailant to up to 15 years in prison. The bill would allow enhanced sentences to the homicide statute for crimes resulting in the mother’s death. In the case of second degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison, the judge would have to state he or she had considered the miscarriage or stillbirth in deciding on a sentence.

State Rep. Leon Rideout filed the bill after his daughter lost her baby as the result of a traffic accident. The issue also drew attention after a former Fortune 500 executive told police he was trying to kill himself when the pickup truck he was driving crossed an interstate median in December into the path of another car. A couple was killed, including a woman who was eight months pregnant.

Proponents of the stiffer sentences said the bill has nothing to do with abortion.  But NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire opposed the bill because the group believes that it would be a step toward granting personhood to fetuses, possibly leading to new restrictions on abortion.

This is an extremist, pro-choice argument that reflects the position that a fetus/unborn child has no intrinsic value. In other words, if the mother dies in a homicide, so what that the fetus died with her?

What was America's greatest come-from-behind war? Go here to find out.

To subscribe to The Barbershop, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

Leave a comment
  • In your last sentence aren't you putting words into the mouths of the pro-choice group? A little unfair, you think?

  • This is a question of the exercising of one's free will and the consequences it involves but make no mistake we have free will.

Leave a comment

  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Advertisement:
  • Visit my new website

    I'm a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at www.dennisbyrne.net

  • Meet The Blogger

    Dennis Byrne

    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Categories

  • Like me on Facebook

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: