Fetal Homicide, Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Federal Law

Protecting the Unborn:  A Step-By-Step Approach

By —— Bio and Archives--August 31, 2008

World | Comments | Print Friendly | Subscribe | Email Us

Saddleback taught us an important lesson:  presumptive Republican nominee John McCain says he knows when life begins.  Democratic Presidential heir apparent Barack Obama does not.


But Obama’s agnosticism on the question of the beginning of life is actually nothing knew.  In 1973, in the era before 4-D ultrasounds made their way into the lives of ordinary American couples, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to specify when life began in the historic case known as Roe v. Wade.  In fact, when read with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, Roe allowed for abortion to take place during all nine-months of pregnancy.  That’s why abortionists were able to get away with the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion.

      Nevertheless, the High Court has allowed for certain restrictions on abortion:  parental consent, 24-hour waiting periods, requirements that women be told of the risks of abortion and alternatives to it.  The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has co-sponsored, would wipe out such restrictions, leading to an even more permissive policy where abortion is concerned.

      I would like to make the case that if unborn life were strictly defined in the law, our courts would be required to protect, rather than devalue, unborn children.  That’s why I recommend passing state laws which would categorize the unlawful killing of unborn babies as murder.  After that, legal protection could be extended to unborn boys and girls whose lives are snuffed out in abortion facilities.

      There is something of a legal precedent for this.  A few years back, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s Law.  Under this landmark legislation, anyone who attacks a pregnant mother and “intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child…shall be punished…for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.”

      While this was an important step forward, this 2004 law applies only to federal cases or those who commit such a crime in the course of violating a federal law.  Since most crimes are matters of state law, similar legislation needs to be passed at the state level.  Fortunately, a number of states have already done this—the unlawful killing of unborn babies is classified as homicide in 36 states.

      However, in other states, while injury to a pregnant woman may be a crime, the killing of unborn children is not considered a separate offense.  The tragedy of such a schizophrenic policy has become painfully obvious in North Carolina.  There, Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, was viciously assaulted and killed while pregnant.  Since there are no laws in North Carolina which equate the killing of a fetus to murder, authorities have brought no charges with regard to the death of Lauterbach’s unborn child. 

      In order to win full legal protection for the unborn, we need broad consensus.  Such consensus already exists with regard to fetal homicide laws.  The laws have been passed in three dozen states—and not one has been successfully challenged in court.  In this context, fetal homicide laws could open the door to other laws that would provide protection to unborn children.

      As Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, has stated, “It seems (abortion advocates’) greatest fear is not of what the (fetal homicide) bill actually does legally, but of how it might encourage people to think about the unborn child.”

      Conner Peterson, Laci Peterson’s unborn son, became a person in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of the American people through the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.  No matter how abortion advocates might try to re-frame the debate, Conner passed through the prism of public consciousness to become more than just a “blob of tissue.”  He had a name—therefore, he had existed, and his young life had been brought to a tragic end.  And the law justly recognizes that fact.

      This is how the fight against abortion must be waged:  one step at a time.  Incrementalism can try our patience, but it can also be quite effective.  As the fight against slavery was fought in stages, so too the battle for civil rights protection for unborn children must be played out on one front at a time.

      Once feticide has been outlawed throughout the U.S., pro-life advocates can move onto the next step.  Each small victory wins more respect for unborn children, and hastens the day when they finally will be accorded equal rights under the law.

Nathan Tabor organizes and educates Christians on their role in Politics.  To learn more visit Faith, Family, Freedom Alliance http://www.fffa.us


Only YOU can save CFP from Social Media Suppression. Tweet, Post, Forward, Subscribe or Bookmark us

Nathan Tabor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Nathan Tabor is a dedicated husband and father who lives in Kernersville, North Carolina. He is passionate about applying God’s word to his personal and professional life and helping others do the same as an executive coach, speaker and business growth consultant. He is a businessman and entrepreneur who has successfully founded and owned over 25 businesses since 1999 that have grossed over $150 million in sales. Learn more about Nathan at NathanTabor.com.

Older articles by Nathan Tabor

Commenting Policy

Please adhere to our commenting policy to avoid being banned. As a privately owned website, we reserve the right to remove any comment and ban any user at any time.

Comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence and death, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal or abusive attacks on other users may be removed and result in a ban.
-- Follow these instructions on registering: