The Associated Press is reporting that the 2004 “Laci and Conner’s Law” (which defines a fetus as a “child”) is about to be tested:
“Federal prosecutors in New Mexico believe they may be the first to use a 2004 law to charge someone with killing a fetus while causing the death or injury of the mother. . .
“The Unborn Victims of Violence Act stemmed from the abduction and murder of a pregnant woman, Laci Peterson, in California in 2003. The law makes it a crime to kill a fetus in utero at any stage of development while committing another federal crime; it does not require the perpetrator to know the woman was pregnant.”
This story is a tragedy because a woman and her unborn baby were beaten to death and the man charged with the crime was the child’s father. But beyond the immediate tragedy, one can imagine another that might follow.
The attorney for the defendant says that he intends to pursue any available legal challenges. That means that it is possible that an appeal might challenge the constitutionality of “Laci and Conner’s Law.” In other words, an attorney for the defense might be inclined to argue that the unborn child cannot be treated as a person whose life should be protected in law.
It’s too early to say where this will go, but you can be sure that folks on both sides of the abortion debate will be keeping a close eye on this one.