If in killing a woman her unborn baby is killed as well...

Charge the killer with a double murder or not?

Suppose she doesn't die but the baby does?

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Kris we obviously disagree on the matter of the unborn child, but have you really considered the implications of the woman involved who loses a child due to a violent crime, whether she lives or not? This is the side I'm hoping to bring to see differently.

That is the ONLY thing I consider -- the mother first and foremost, and the surviving relations in general.

Does it do the woman justice to treat her unborn child's death as a "non-legal" person? If you believe so can you explain why?

Yes, because punishing the offender for feticide, as I would have the law define the charge, is almost entirely with regard to her loss and suffering, not the fetus's.

Referring to the killing of the unborn as feticide begs the very same question which is at question here: is a fetus an unborn incipient person or just a hunk of tissue.

Neither, exactly, or both partially. The fetus itself doesn't have the same legal rights as a person itself, but the act of killing it against the wishes of the mother represents clear harm, physical and emotional (and to a lesser extent financial) because of the relationship between parent and offspring. It also overrides the mother's reproductive rights. I would characterize both those offences as severe and criminal.

That is an "either/or" question that I believe is called a "false dichotomy", which you usually are not guilty of.

One of the reasons I think you cannot treat your scenario as a double-homicide is simply that you cannot kill off the pregnant woman, yet leave the fetus alive.

Nobody is saying that the fetus doesn't matter at all.  We are simply trying to ascertain how it would be appropriate to apply a definition to the crime, and what penalties should apply.

Perhaps it is feasible to have a different penalty for killing a pregnant woman as opposed to a non-pregnant woman, but other than giving it a special name (aggravated murder perhaps?) I don't see what you are trying to achieve. It is not like the sentencing is decided on from a label based logarithm table - the judge does get quite a broad input to sentencing.

Certainly I cannot see that there is anything a new category of offense would achieve that would be seen as more of a deterrent.  "I was going to murder that woman, but now I know that she is pregnant, I'll reconsider"?.  So it looks to me as if giving special crime status to a killed fetus falls more into the 'vengeance' category rather than the 'punishment' or 'deterrent' ones.

...you cannot kill off the pregnant woman, yet leave the fetus alive.

Technically, with medical intervention, it does happen, but the underlying point seems correct. You cannot target only one with violence without affecting the other.

Nobody is saying that the fetus doesn't matter at all.  We are simply trying to ascertain how it would be appropriate to apply a definition to the crime, and what penalties should apply.

Yes.

Certainly I cannot see that there is anything a new category of offense would achieve...

It is, from my perspective, simply a matter of characterizing the harm caused correctly so that the legal response can reflect it properly. In terms of how the law should respond... well, I don't think the current system actually works. My position on that subject is represented in this thread.

Babies are removed from the bodies of dead mothers all the time. The mother might have died in an accident, but if the baby is viable and relatively uninjured, it can be surgically removed.

All the time?  Evidence please

I googled "baby removed from dead mother" and got 54,000,000 links. They can't all be about the same incident. 

What makes you so skeptical, anyway? Pregnant women are killed in accidents or are murdered or die by disease very frequently (do I need to prove that as well?). Simply because the mother dies, the baby doesn't die automatically. They can be saved if they are removed from the womb quickly enough (and assuming they are viable as well, of course). I say "all the time" because I can remember several incidents, including a couple in which the mother was murdered so that her baby could be taken from her.

Blimey, Unseen, I asked for evidence because you said, "all the time".  I can imagine fetuses might be "saved" if the pregnancy is in the last two or three months. To me, "all the time" makes the process sound almost casually common.

As to what makes me so skeptical?  Absolutes make me skeptical. Unsupported information makes me skeptical.  My entire thought process makes me skeptical.

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