Saturday, January 07, 2012

Some stuff I didn't have time for #2

According to an article in the Huffington Post the end of December,
Maryland is one of 38 states that allows murder charges to be brought against someone accused of killing a viable fetus. The 2005 state law has so far only been used for cases in which defendants were accused of assaulting or killing pregnant women.
Now, however, Maryland has used it to charge two doctors with multiple counts of murder of fetuses.

The case appears to have arisen over a "botched" abortion in August 2010, but the police investigation supposedly turned up a number of late-term aborted fetuses in a freezer. As a result,
[Dr. Steven] Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. [Dr. Nicola] Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count.
When these laws were first proposed and passed, there were those of us who predicted that they would be used against abortion providers because they legally established a fetus as a separate individual with its own rights to legal protection - so anyone aborting a "viable" fetus could be charged with murder. Proponents of the law, denying their true intentions, insisted that would never happen. Now, however, it appears their actual wish, the one denied by their words, has come true.

But for pure shake-your-head and quality of unintended revelation, nothing could beat this statement:
"We are in uncharted territory," [Cecil County State's Attorney Ellis] Roberts said. "At some point in time," he added, "you will hear our explanation" of the charges.
Um, what? You had a 16-month investigation, filed a total of six counts of first-degree murder, six counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of conspiracy - and you can't offer an explanation of the charges? What, do you still have to make one up? Maybe you haven't focus-group tested the alternatives yet?

And we take one more step back toward the days of the coat hanger.

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