One of the survivors of the Aurora shooting, a pregnant woman that took a bullet to the stomach, has suffered a miscarriage in direct consequence of her injuries. Should the perpetrator be charged with one additional murder, raising the total from 12 to 13?
In other words, does killing an unborn amount to killing a person?
Justice Antonin Scalia is on record saying that, from a strictly constitutional perspective, it does not. In his view, when the Constitution says “persons,” it “clearly means walking-around persons. You don’t count pregnant woman twice.”
As per this reading, it would be up to the states, i.e., the people, to determine whether the unborn are persons or not and, by extension, whether and under what circumstances the premeditated termination of a fetus amounts to murder.
The 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, however, has, at least in part, taken this call out of the hands of the majority, by ordaining that the premeditated termination of a fetus less than three months of age does not amount to murder, at least not when performed at the behest of the mother.
Hard to say whether the reasoning behind Roe v. Wade implies—and whether Roe v. Wade supporters would concede—that premeditated first-trimester abortion amounts to murder when performed against the mother’s will.
If it does not—and unless one simply subscribes to the Founding Fathers’ view on personhood as per Justice Scalia, which says that life begins at birth, period—at what point during a pregnancy does forced abortion become the equivalent of killing a person?
More perplexingly, why should an entity’s personhood status hinge on who decides upon its termination? It doesn’t seem to make much sense to argue that if the mother decides to terminate her unborn, the unborn is not a person, but if someone else decides to terminate it, it is.
The woman in Colorado was six months pregnant at the time her unborn was terminated against her will.
So was it murder?
Related Post: Counting Pregnant Women
Tags: U.S. Constitution