The Alabama Ruling


Founding Member
So the link is to a story that a woman in Alabama is facing prosecution because she got into a fight, shots were fired, and the 'baby' was killed.

This is the same State that has made abortion in every circumstance, illegal. Not just illegal, but criminal. It is clear from the way in which laws are being interpreted in that State that the Pro-Lifers, now they have been successful in outlawing abortion, are seeking test cases for other ways of protecting 'life'. Where will it stop? What if a woman miscarries? Is she to be prosecuted for causing a hostile environment for a baby?

The point is that the Pro-Lifers have overturned Roe Vs Wade and now ALL 'babies' - even those who are embryonic - enjoy the same protection as a baby that has passed the viability test.
After thinking about this for a while, I realized what must REALLY be at play from the strict legal viewpoint. Note that this is NOT from any kind of morality or fairness viewpoint.

The woman apparently attacked someone and persisted to the point that her victim feared for her life or feared violent injury. She defended herself with a gun. Alabama law allows lethal defense given sufficient provocation and thus the victim of the assault has an affirmative defense. The fetus died due to the gunshot wound. The attacker, however, had committed the felony of assault and battery. This means that if there is another injury or death due to actions performed during the commission of that felony, she is also guilty of that second crime on the theory that she should have realized that her actions COULD lead to a violent outcome. Sort of like a get-away driver being charged with capital murder because his partner was killed during an attempt armed robbery.

I don't say it is right. But at least I understand legally how it could be argued.


Founding Member
I read that a number of times, Doc, and reached the same conclusion - in that I can see how it can be argued.

The nuance, I suppose, is that the 'person' who died was a foetus.

At which point does life become life, with equal rights to those that are viable outside of a mother's body?
At which point do we remove women's autonomy over their own bodies?
Further, at which point do we hold women responsible for what happens to their unborn foetus?

The answer to all of the above has changed recently because the State of Alabama has unilaterally overturned Roe Vs Wade (a Supreme Court ruling). Now, the threshold for life has been reduced from the end of the second trimester, to - I presume - the point at which a pregnancy is confirmed, or even before. This is either an intended or unintended consequence - but it seems that the pro-lifers are manipulating the law to suit their cause.


Founding Member
At some point, this situation will reach a court test where the Alabama law is recognized as an excessive burden (the current standard, if I recall the phrase correctly) on a woman's ability to obtain an abortion. SCOTUS does not, however, normally make original rulings, so a case will have to filter up from lower courts before they can reach a ruling on just how burdensome these state laws have become.

Unfortunately, this is not a good test case for your question about a woman's responsibility for the fetus. Had the woman been the victim rather than the aggressor, perhaps another outcome would be possible.

I think the answer to your first and second questions has to be simultaneous with each other. The catch is that the "equal rights" moment has more than one definition. Llegal, philosophical, medical, and religious distinctions exist and each has a different answer. Too many people have allowed the issue to be clouded by melding those answers. Based strictly on constitutional law, rights accrue to natural-born citizens or naturalized citizens, and the latter is a post-partum event.


Founding Member
I'll say this on the matter: I held my wife's hand during her D&C after miscarrying. The child would have been our second. The procedure is the same in an abortion except for how it is initiated. I can't fathom someone doing this voluntarily.

Nowhere else do we kill children in response to the careless acts of the parent.


Founding Member
But not all parents are careless - and again, I cite the example of a woman who is raped. Leaving aside any psychological, physical, or emotional damage - some women are left with an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. That's not carelessness.

For what it's worth, AI, I never had to make the choice whether to terminate (though I did miscarry once). My leanings are more towards pro-life in this matter - but with one important caveat. Pro-life is MY choice for ME. It is not for me to reduce or remove any options for other women and nor would I judge them for the choices they make.
AI, your opinion is not uncommon. However, ...

Depending on your religious beliefs and the way you were taught, it is valid to ask "what child" and still not be disingenuous. According to many religions, a fetus is not a child. Judaism and Islam share the belief that you don't have a child until the umbilicus has been severed. Technically, the Bible chimes in on this via the Solomonic decree, "The breath is the life" - meaning "first breath" as the starting point for life. There is NO passage in the Bible that claims that life beings at conception unless you start making exceptional readings of some passages where ordinary readings wouldn't say that. If a woman becomes pregnant and decides she wants to not deliver a baby later, and if her religion doesn't stop her, that is HER choice, not ours. If her religion or upbringing says it's not a child, then it is no different than having a tumor removed.

Given that many men are the "love 'em and leave 'em" type who use extreme persuasion on trusting young women, it is no surprise that a woman might wish to end any involvement with the cad who betrayed her trust. USA child support laws do their best, but I've know at least three or four young women who are now mothers but didn't want to be, and who were totally abandoned by their temporary partners. The bitterness that comes from such an event is something I would never want to inflict on a child. But society condemns that women for her unfortunate choice, leaving the "gunslinger" to roam around looking for more "notches for his gun." As long as society is still male-dominated, the "good old boy" network will perpetuate the need for abortion to be more freely available. And this doesn't even take into account those cases where drugs, actual force, or threats of force were employed.

Another point to consider:
Nowhere else do we kill children in response to the careless acts of the parent.
Not true. Abortions were known in ancient Egypt. We didn't get the idea here. We inherited it. World-wide, abortion is available with a few exceptions.

Many of the countries that allow abortion might place a limit on when it is possible by trimester, but only a few countries totally restrict abortion.

Let's also be clear that parents can condemn their child for being sick if they take extreme stances on medical treatments. For one example, the Church of Christ Scientist has many times gone on record as wanting to deny treatment on religious grounds. In effect, birth doesn't stop parents from allowing children to die - and in this case I'm using the word "children" precisely. Look at the religiously based "anti-vaxxer" groups that deny their children medically tested vaccines. And look at the recent measles outbreak in the USA northeaster sector that spread to multiple states because of a few kids in airports spreading the virus.

My wife and I agreed that if it were possible, we would have children, but it didn't happen. So I'm a step-dad and grandpa, but not a biological father. Doesn't matter, her kids respect me and come to me for advice, and the two grandkids love me. (It is a reciprocal agreement, by the way.) But we also agreed that it was always a matter of conscience.