BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A California woman allegedly had her boyfriend repeatedly punch her stomach to end the life of their 30-week-old (7 1/2 month) baby girl, but charges against the two are not yet certain as under California law, residents cannot be charged with the murder of an unborn child if “the act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.”
According to Bakersfield Now, the couple’s daughter died on May 24 after being removed from the womb at a local hospital, being found to have a fractured skull and other traumatic injuries.
The woman, whose name has not been provided, claimed to staff at Kern Medical Center—who noted that she had “severe bruising” on her abdomen—that she had fallen while mopping. Employees did not believe her story but instead called the police. During questioning, she told officers that her boyfriend punched her stomach with his fists “at least 10 times” and then she “stopped feeling the baby move.”
She allegedly admitted that the two had agreed on the beating in order to do away with the child. Reports state that the boyfriend has denied hurting either the mother or baby.
The Kern County district attorney’s office is reviewing the matter to determine what charges, if any, can be filed. Under California law, murder is defined as the “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” However, there is no prosecution for cases in which “the act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.” Read the law in full here.
Yet, in the present case, the couple’s daughter was past the point of viability, meaning she likely could have survived outside of the womb at that stage.
“It’s a unique case. We’re still investigating. There’s a lot of different angles,” Deputy District Attorney Gina Pearl told KBAK/KBFX.
She said that the coroner’s report would also factor in on the decision process.
While pro-life and “pro-choice” groups alike have said that the situation is regrettable, Jennifer Bloomquist of Pro-Choice Kern County told the outlet that the answer to such situations is to increase access to abortion.
“Of course, we don’t want anyone to suffer violence,” she stated. “We can prevent future cases by offering greater access and even funding for abortions. Safe and legal abortions, not induced miscarriages.”
The most common method for third trimester abortions—where legal—is called an induction abortion. Digoxin is customarily injected into the womb, causing the baby to suffer cardiac arrest. The child is then delivered stillborn.
Dilation and evacuation (D&E), also known as a dismemberment abortion, is the customary procedure for second trimester abortions. The child, still alive, is ripped apart piece by piece, and their body parts are reassembled on a tray to ensure that the abortionist did not leave any portion behind.
As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia doctor Hugh Lennox Hodge lamented that even the mothers of his day were lacking of natural affection toward their own children and sought out means to kill them.
“They seem not to realize that the being within them is indeed animate, that is, in verity, a human being—body and spirit—that it is of importance, that its value is inestimable, having reference to this world and the next,” he said. “They act with as much indifference as if the living, intelligent, immortal existence lodged within their organs were of no more value than the bread eaten, or the common excretions of the system.”
“[S]he recklessly and boldly adopts measures, however severe and dangerous, for the accomplishment of her unnatural, her guilty purpose … that she may be delivered of [a child] for which she has no desire, and whose birth and appearance she dreads.”