What is Feticide?
Feticide qualifies as fetal homicide, and abortion laws have become entangled in the definitions of fetal homicide. These laws range from state to state and nation to nation, but they don’t always relate to abortion.
Fetal homicide can occur if a woman is a victim of a violent crime and the fetus is killed during the crime or as a result of the crime. Pro-life advocates argue that fetal homicide addresses the behavior of a woman during pregnancy as well. For example, pro-life advocates often argue that smoking, drinking, or using drugs during a pregnancy qualifies as fetal homicide as well.
State Laws and Feticide
A total of 28 states currently have fetal homicide laws, including the following:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Additionally, 23 states have fetal homicide laws that address any stage of gestation, conception, fertilization, or post-fertilization. These states include the following:
Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
High-Profile Cases Involving Feticide
According to the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), one of the most high-profile cases involves a woman by the name of Bei Bei Shuai. She was placed in an Indiana jail for 14 months and was released on $50,000 bail in May of 2012. She was incarcerated for attempting suicide while she was 8 months pregnant.
She attempted suicide after she found out she was lied to by Zhiliang Guan. He was the father of the child, and he told Shuai he was divorced while he was actually married. Shuai ingested rat poison after Guan told her he was returning to his wife.
Shuai did not die. Her friends found her and she was rushed to the hospital. She did everything the hospital suggested, and she underwent an emergency cesarean. Her baby was born on December 31, 2010, but the baby soon developed problems, went on life support, and passed away on January 3, 2011.
After the child died, Shuai was charged with feticide and attempted murder. She could serve up to 65 years in prison for the crime.
Another case involved Christine Taylor. She fell down a flight of stairs and was rushed to the hospital. During the examination, she told the nurse that she was stressed out because her husband has left her. She stated that she had debated abortion throughout the pregnancy but ultimately decided she would raise the child. The nurse went to the authorities, and Taylor spent two days in jail before the charges were dropped.
NAPW also reports that 60 women in Alabama have been arrested because of laws under the Chemical Endangerment Act of 2006. The law was originally created to stop people from bringing children into meth labs, but the law has been used against women who test positive for drugs during pregnancy—many of whom have low levels of income.