Fetal homicide bill passes in state Senate

Posted April 14, 2011

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— In a 45-4 vote Thursday, the state Senate approved a proposed law that makes it a felony to kill or injure a fetus at any stage or development.

House Bill 215, "Unborn Victims of Violence Act," now goes back to the state House for a final vote.

The legislation, which makes clear that it doesn't apply to legal abortions, would find anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman guilty of the same crimes against the fetus, regardless of whether an attacker knows about the pregnancy.

State law does not recognize the death of a fetus or unborn child as a result of a violent crime as a homicide or separate crime.

If passed, the bill would replace an existing state law that makes injury to a woman that results in a miscarriage or stillbirth an aggravating factor.

That can increase the penalty for a felony.

The bill is also called "Ethen's Law," after the unborn son of Jenna Nielsen, who was eight months pregnant when she was stabbed to death outside a Raleigh convenience store in June 2007.


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  • west3205 Apr 15, 2011

    I agree with the law.... That being said in this society it shows how really lost we are. How can you in one case say the fetus is a living being and fight for its rights, and in another case IT is just tissue that needs to be removed so I can get on with my life.

  • mep Apr 15, 2011

    One day people WILL realize fetuses are people too, and should be afforded the same rights as everyone else. PERIOD!

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Apr 14, 2011


  • smalldogsrule Apr 14, 2011

    If I understand it correctly, this is only applicable as a SECONDARY charge. In that, the mother must also die.

    It is already a crime to assault a woman which causes the death of an unborn baby, this would, however, raise that to felony status.

  • pipcolt Apr 14, 2011

    The law may be put into place but will the judges be able to enforce the law to the max? Or will the DA and ADA's plea bargain a case to a lessor charge just to get a convition much faster. Thats the big question.

  • Lars Marson Apr 14, 2011

    Im 300% behind this bill!! I hope it passes the house!!!

  • kpwoodlief Apr 14, 2011

    I am very happy about this and I feel that it should have come into play a long time ago.

  • west3205 Apr 14, 2011

    Does the pregant lady need to die and the fetus for this to be applicable or is it just the fetus that needs to die?

  • sayitoutloud Apr 14, 2011


  • deansquishman2 Apr 14, 2011

    More fuel to the fire for prosecutors = more jail time for murderers----so a life sentence becomes a double life sentence or the death penalty?---this feels like politics to appease the angry masses---how about some fresh ideas on the issue of crime PREVENTION