RALEIGH, N.C. — Suspects accused of causing a fetus to die or injuring it inside the womb at any stage of development would face separate criminal charges under a law Gov. Beverly Perdue has signed.
The measure Perdue signed on Friday doesn’t apply to legal abortions but does convey legal status upon fetuses unable to survive outside their mother’s womb.
The Democratic governor said twice in a statement that she strongly supports abortion rights, but “I do support punishing any person who would attack or kill a pregnant woman. I sign this bill today to show that support.”
“I have children of my own, and grandchildren,” Perdue said.
“I know the powerful instinct of a mother to protect her children, and I know how I would feel if anyone had harmed my daughters-in-law or me when we were pregnant.”
When the bill takes effect Dec. 1, North Carolina will join 35 other states and the federal government in recognizing an unborn child as an additional victim of crime. Laws in nearly two dozen states say crimes against the fetus can come at any time after conception, like the North Carolina law does.
Republicans have sought the additional protections for several years and took advantage of their majority in both chambers this year to push through the law that supporters say would punish people for harm caused to expectant babies. Opponents said the measure was a gift to conservatives who believe life begins at conception.
Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, was one of the chief sponsors of the measure known as Ethen’s law. It was named for the unborn son of Jennifer Nielsen, who was killed along with her child in 2007 as she delivered newspapers in Raleigh. Nielsen’s father, Kevin Blaine, has pushed for years for the bill.
It’s about time, although it’s kinda interesting that – once again – we have a law on the books here in the states that essentially says that if the baby is unwanted and the mother goes to an abortion clinic to terminate “the problem”, then it’s not a crime. But if the baby IS wanted and is harmed by a violent offender, it is considered a crime.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the law will go onto the books later this year. But it’s worth pointing out that “is it a baby or not” is in the eye of the beholder, depending on whether or not the unborn baby is wanted.
Oh, and this law was brought to you courtesy of the new Republican majority in the NC state legislature. Keep up the good work, y’all.