A controversial Texas law requires that the unborn child of Crystal Holcombe, one of the victims of the recent shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, be considered as a separate victim.
The shooting claimed 26 lives and included Holcombe who was eight months pregnant.
Enacted in 2003 Texas’s feticide law was among the first to be passed in the U.S. Such laws venture into new legal territory in the country and have generated controversy.
Feticide laws In United States
- Feticide laws were developed after Laci Peterson was murdered by her husband in 2002 in California. Laci Peterson had been eight months pregnant when she was killed.
- Currently around 38 states in United States have fetal homicide laws in force including California, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Arizona.
- Around 22 states have passed feticide laws that apply to all stages of pregnancy, including conception.
- These laws don’t apply to women who choose to have legal abortions.
Understanding the controversy surrounding Feticide laws
Abortion rights activists claim that the laws relating to feticide others can be used to target pregnant women but anti-abortion groups feel that they act as a preventive measure against domestic violence and also increase penalties in cases of abuse.
Those opposing the laws point out that the laws are more often used to prosecute women who suffer pregnancy termination due to illegal behaviour like drug use than in cases of domestic abuse.