Before a man and wife, or same gendered couple, exchange vows of marriage, you would think that they would have a few major conversations about their desire, or not, for bringing children into the world. Perhaps one spouse naïvely assumes that the other is in agreement. Perhaps they just let nature take its course, or maybe the wife accidentally on purpose forgets about birth control as she has made a personal decision.
Most likely, many couples don’t talk about it specifically, thinking that the other is in tune with their wishes as they have been going together for a length of time. Whatever the scenario, they clearly are not on the same page.
A man (most often) who is young and not especially responsible, and perhaps other women in his life have always taken care of things (Mom, previous girlfriends, coaches), is frequently not prepared for the responsibilities and views a child as a cramping of the lifestyle, or the wallet. This is clearly a selfish attitude.
In this day and age, there are options that are much better than resorting to criminal acts upon the mother and/or the baby. How and why anyone comes to the realization that a baby is someone else’s trash is beyond my understanding.
Over time, the law has evolved in some states and those states consider a fetus a separate prosecutorial murder.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, (March 2015)
In recent years, states have expanded this debate to include the issue of fetuses killed by violent acts against pregnant women. In some states, legislation has increased the criminal penalties for crimes involving pregnant women. These laws have focused on the harm done to a pregnant woman and the subsequent loss of her pregnancy, but not on the rights of the fetus.
Other legislation has defined the fetus as a person under fetal homicide or “feticide” laws. Such legislation is hotly debated under names such as the Fetal Protection Act, the Preborn Victims of Violence Act and the Unborn Victim of Violence Act. Those supporting these acts, often pro-life advocates, say that both the lives of the pregnant woman and the fetus should be explicitly protected.
Those on the other side feel that laws to protect a fetus could become a “slippery slope” that could jeopardize a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Pro-choice advocates say such laws grant a fetus legal status distinct from the pregnant woman – possibly creating an adversarial relationship between a woman and her baby. Currently, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws.
Various states have different classes of offences or certain conditions under which Feticide would apply.
- Charles Stuart, a 30-year-old man from Boston murdered his wife , Carol DiMaiti Stuart on October 23, 1989. Chuck plotted with his brother to kill his wife for insurance money after she leaves a lucrative law practice to become a full-time mother. He does not want a baby. He does not want a decrease in his lifestyle and actually begins an affair with another woman at a new job as a furrier. In the process, they concoct a story that a black man shot he and his wife, thus adding to the highly volatile race relations already occurring in Boston.
A summary of this case appears in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDDfLQ4or8ol
- Scott Peterson of Modesto, California, was convicted of the murder of his wife Laci and his unborn child, Connor on December 24th, 2002. He created an elaborate scenario involving fishing, or was it golf, multiple lies leading a double life by dating an initial unsuspecting Amber Frey, who ultimately helped to convict him. Detectives found very limited physical evidence but much circumstantial evidence as well as a callous unremorseful primary suspect. A baby just didn’t fit his lifestyle.
Documentary by Catherine Crier- A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
- Rae Curruth, former Carolina Panthers football star, was complicit in the 1999 murder of his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, 24, and the attempted murder of his unborn son with friend Van Brett Watkins (the shooter). Cherica was a real estate agent Rae had been casually dating, and was shot four times by Van Brett Watkins Sr., a night club manager and an associate of Carruth. Adams managed to call 911, and said that Carruth had stopped his vehicle in front of hers, and that another vehicle drove alongside and the passenger shot her. Carruth then drove away from the scene. Soon after her admission to the hospital, she fell into a coma. Doctors delivered the baby via emergency Caesarean section. Adams died on December 14, 1999. Carruth fled after Adams’ death, and was captured on December 15 in western Tennessee. He was found hiding in the trunk of a car outside a motel. Also in the trunk was $3,900 cash, bottles of his urine, extra clothes, candy bars, and a cell phone. Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. He was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison. His motive to murder, Cherica’s refusal to abort the child because he did not want to pay child support. He already had been paying for “another mistake” by a previous girlfriend.
Carruth was sentenced to 18 years in prison. His son, Chancellor, survived but was born with cerebral palsy. He is thriving as a happy 16-year-old living with his Grandmother.
In October 2015, his status was downgraded and he was eligible for a work release program.
Ultimately, the Carruth story is bittersweet. There has been forgiveness by Cherica‘s mother, (Chancellor’s Grandmother) and a thriving son, not ever knowing the true extent of the crime.
As for the other crimes, the Carol DiMaiti Stuart Foundation was established after her death for students in the Mission Hill District of Boston.
In the Scott Peterson case, education and awareness has come from the book authored by Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother,“For Laci: A Mother’s Story.” I read this book with interest and found it to be very tragic and touching at the same time.
Additional References: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx