Local News

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence Position on Fetal Homicide Law

Posted February 13, 2008 7:42 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2008 7:46 p.m. EST

The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence opposes the creation of a separate crime for the murder of a fetus when a pregnant woman is killed.

Among its reasons:

  • Existing North Carolina law addresses injury to a pregnant woman (NCGS 14-18.2), and NCCADV supports the use of this law, as well as the use of existing aggravating factors in North Carolina sentencing laws, to prosecute the murder of a pregnant woman rather than charging a separate crime.
  • The domestic violence community is concerned that this legislation could lead to holding a pregnant victim of domestic violence responsible for the death of her child because she did not "protect" her unborn child from a batterer.
  • NCCADV wants to ensure that the focus of a prosecution for death of a pregnant woman remains on the death of the woman.
  • Fetal murder bills do not assist domestic violence victims because they do not address the cause or incidence of domestic violence in which the offender’s objective is to maintain power and control over the victim.
  • Fetal murder bills do not recognize the injury to the woman as the root of the injury to the fetus.
  • NCCADV supports the position paper of the National Network to End Domestic Violence regarding the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
  • Statistics indicate that 25 percent to 45 percent of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy (March of Dimes). NCCADV works to protect all victims of domestic violence, including a fetus.

SOURCE: North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence