It depends. But I would think that it could count as double. The reasoning is that intent is crucial. For example, if a woman is 5 months pregnant and intended to have the baby but it was killed against her will, then she has been wronged and punishment should be exacted for that wrong, as well as the murder of her.
My wife had posted the legality of such a situation long ago on another abortion thread here. I may see if I can dig it up or have her repost her thoughts.
The problem with that is proving intent. You would have to be able to show that the women wanted to have the baby, which would be hard to do. I'm sure that her family would say she did regardless of whether she wanted it or not. Also, the laws for murder work on behalf of the intent of the criminal, not the intent of the victim.
While I don't see it as double, I do think that there are certain repercussions for killing a woman's baby. For instance, if you shoot a pregnant woman and she doesn't die but her baby does, I think she should be able to sue for emotional distress. However, I don't see it as murder.
Also, the laws for murder work on behalf of the intent of the criminal, not the intent of the victim.
Not always. Take, for example, manslaughter charges.
If someone doesn't know that a woman is pregnant, then maybe manslaughter for the fetus? If the criminal knows the woman is pregnant or it is visibly obvious and kills her and/or the fetus, I think murder charges could be levied. He (or she, to show equality in homicide!) can't presume to know a pregnant woman's intent and claim they caused no harm because of the possibility that the woman would not keep the fetus.
How about this? And it was posed before but I can;t find it. A woman is on her way to the abortion clinic when she is murdered! I am definitely pushing my wife to weigh in from a legal aspect on this. I think she has before, but may have deleted her profile in the past and the response is gone.
I kinda with Reggie on this one. I think that if a woman is past her first trimester it should count as two murders. Practically all abortions are done during the first trimester; abortions done later are usually the result of medical issues with either the fetus or the mother. If a woman has carried past the first trimester I think it is safe to say for legal purposes that the woman intended to carry the pregnancy to term. Also a woman typically looks pregnant by the second trimester so the killer really doesn't have any excuse on that note. The woman is the only person who should be deciding to carry a fetus to term or not as it is her body the fetus requires. If a person murders a pregnant woman they are robbing her not only of her life but her right to choose about the potential life growing inside her and I think that deserves something more than a single murder charge.
I think that some states, which have already defined feticide, have handled the competing interests of protecting the mother's right to choose while also protecting the "life" of the fetus quite nicely. That is to protect the woman's right to choose by punishing only others who cause the death of a fetus (while excluding any medical professionals who are involved in the abortion process). The problem of excluding abortion from fetal homicide can be dealt with by state legislatures adding just a few words to their respective murder statutes. The necessary words in defining feticide within any statute are "without the consent of the mother". This language will cover all the unborn fetuses but still leave intact the woman's right to choose. Even the scenario where a woman is on her way to an abortion clinic and the fetus gets killed by an accident would be considered murder because the mother did not give consent to the death of that fetus at that time or in that manner.
In my opinion, killing a fetus without the consent of a mother should at the very least be considered some sort of crime if not murder.
I wouldn't say that it is necessarily equal to a crime of someone murdering two separate individuals. I don't think you can weigh unethical actions in this manner effectively. In many cases I would say that it is worse than simply killing two individuals. I think it is best to view the unborn child as a child for ethical purposes. The father of this child has just had their child and love taken away (potentially, I mean you could say yes they didn't love the child or the mom, didn't care, mom didn't care, etc, but what good does this do?) Whether or not the child had been born yet doesn't make a difference to the gravity of the loss. Birth itself actually marks no difference or critical change, it's simply happening independently of actual development. If someone was on trial for killing someone, and their 3 month old child, not on accident, I'd consider it just the same as if it was a 25 week fetus.