Difficult one. If the woman is full term? is she 8 months?, 7 months? If she is full term then what is the difference between a full term baby and a newly born one? They are both entirely dependent on other people. If the difference is that they have been born, does that include caesarians? Just asking.
My idea would be to look at from what time can we keep premature babies alive? I think it's currently 21 weeks (4-5 months?).
Developmentally there's not really a point that makes a difference, birth or any other. Survival for preemies is based just on their fitness for being outside the womb. The only way I think you can look at a crime that takes away a mother and a child is to ignore the birth aspect. How bad is it considered if someone murders a little kid? That's all I see when I imagine someone killing a pregnant mother.. they just killed a little kid, and mom. Why did they do that? How did they possibly view that decision as ethical?
Hi Andrew, for arguments sake let's say 5 months (just to give it a number) and yes, it is 21 weeks. however most will post something about how 'that child would have all sorts of problems being born that early'. that's not the issue here, just if it is single or double and why :)
If a person is a murderer does it matter? He killed one person, what is the difference if you make it two? I have never understood this. If you can prove a person mudered someone what would be the point of making it two? More jail time?
That's a good point. It doesn't matter. But it probably makes a victim's family feel better...even if it's just in the name of the sentence. I guess you just fight for the recognition of the second murder, not the punishment that the person receives.
@ Cathleen - I agree with Jon. if the person is convicted of 1 murder they will either get life in jail or the death penalty.
@ Reggie - Then should the assaulter be charged with murder? I would think so. Something "Major" should happen considering he just took out a fetus that (as far as everyone knew) had a chance. like I told Andrew, for arguments sake lets say the mother was about 5 months along...
Intent would come into it, I think. Did the murderer intend to kill the fetus? In other words, was it a case of M(murderer) intended to kill W(woman), and F(fetus) was killed as a consequence, or did M intend to kill both W and F? Or maybe M meant to only kill F, but also killed W by mistake?
There was a famous case a few years ago of an NFL football player, Rae Carruth, who conspired to have his pregnant girlfriend shot because he did not want to pay child support.
While I don't think abortion is murder, I think that a clear intention to kill a woman AND her fetus (which, by law would be considered murder in the first degree) by an outside influence should be treated as a double homicide.
I caught myself- I called it a baby at first. It's so tempting to do, because the termination of the fetus is coming from someone who wants to, in essence, veto the woman's decision to bear a child. I don't necessarily think it will deter someone from going ahead with it, but I find the double homicide law to be more pro-woman than pro-life.