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Old 01-05-2005, 10:50 AM   #1
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Baseball bat abortion

Why is the boy the only one being charged? The girl went along with it as a willing participant. And while were at it...why is this boy being charged at all? Abortion is legal last time I checked.



RICHMOND TOWNSHIP - Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said his hands were tied when it came time to decide whom to charge in the baseball bat beating death of a fetus being carried by a teenage girl.

He decided Tuesday to do the only thing one state statute allowed: charge the boyfriend who wielded the bat, hitting his girlfriend in the stomach repeatedly over a two-week period, but let the girl off the hook, uncharged.

The Richmond Township boy, 16, who may be arraigned as early as today in Macomb County Juvenile Court, is at home with his parents. He was charged as a juvenile with intentional conduct against a pregnancy or stillbirth, which is a felony. If convicted, he could remain in custody until age 21.

But the girl, also from Richmond - who was a willing participant in the induced abortion, law enforcement officials say - cannot be charged under that law because it specifically excludes the mother from criminal liability.

In part because it still was legal to abort the fetus, the decision renewed debate over the protection of fetuses and the fairness of charging just one of two juveniles who allegedly agreed to kill their unborn child.

Although Smith called the case "shocking and reprehensible," he added, "we are bound by the law. We don't have the option of charging (the girl)."

Smith said if the 6-month-old fetus had been viable, the boy would have been charged with manslaughter of a quick-born child, a 15-year felony.

The girl could have then also received the same charge for aiding and abetting.

Miranda Massie, a Detroit civil rights attorney, believes neither teen should be charged. "My heart went out to these poor kids," Massie said. "I believe it is a terrible mistake to be charged at all. This is a tremendous waste of public resources.

"What is Macomb County going to gain by criminal charges?"

She contacted the family of the boy to represent him. She believes that neither teen deserves to be charged.

Smith charged the boy under a state law passed in 1999 - called the "Prenatal Protection Act" - that states only the person assaulting a pregnant woman resulting in a miscarriage is criminally liable. The pregnant woman, no matter how complicit in the termination, is not.

If that provision had not been written into the statute, it would have clashed with the federal law that allows abortions under the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S Supreme Court decision, said Pam Sherstad, spokeswoman for Right to Life of Michigan, which worked to pass the 1999 state law.

"Abortion is obviously legal in the United States," Sherstad said, "and you can't have a state law that interferes with federal law. The Prenatal Protection Act was designed to protect pregnant women who are assaulted by someone resulting in the death of their unborn child. This is obviously a unique case."

Legally, the baby could have been aborted. Because the girl was a minor, she would have needed a judge's or parental permission to obtain an abortion.

Smith said he waited until final toxicology reports on the fetus were completed by the medical examiner to determine what charges could be brought against the 16-year-old boy. The prosecutor declined to identify the youth because because he is charged as a juvenile.

Arthur Caplan, professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, believes the girl should be charged with planning, plotting or conspiring to murder.

"But it's tough to do, because the law takes a different view of developing potential life than it does of actual life," Caplan said. "If the boy was charged with murder she probably would be facing charges, too.

"But being involved in causing a miscarriage is not as severe as murder," Caplan said. "Ethically, you could argue that this seems wrong, but the law draws a sharp distinction between killing your child and a fetus that's not yet viable. That may strike some pro-life people and conservatives as wrong, but that's the way the law is now."

Sherstad said the case illustrates how "the sanctity of life is not valued in our culture. It's sad that human life can be discarded this way. There's no value on the life of an unborn child, which makes it easier for something like this to happen."

Lori Lamerand, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Mid-Michigan Alliance, said pregnant teens have safer options available than terminating a pregnancy without a doctor.

"It's always tragic when people resort to such drastic measures, when there are appropriate, safe medical measures are available," Lamerand said.

Both the boy and his girlfriend have returned to classes at Armada High School, said Arnold Kummerow, superintendent of Armada Area Schools.

Law enforcement officials were first made aware of the incident in mid-November, when the girl spoke about the series of events that led to the miscarriage while at a high school leadership conference in the Upper Peninsula. The adult facilitator of the conference contacted the Michigan State Police. Detectives from the state police Richmond Post investigated the claim, and went to the boyfriend's home, where they found the buried fetus.

An autopsy was consistent with initial reports from the Michigan State Police that the miscarriage was caused by the girl's boyfriend repeatedly striking her with a 22-inch souvenir baseball bat over a two-week period, Smith said.

The parents of the teens were not aware of the pregnancy or the decision to abort it, investigators said.

Police believe the fetus was aborted in early October, then buried in the back yard of the boyfriend's home with the help of his mother.

The fetus died of premature birth associated with trauma to the mother, according to chief Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz.

The fetus could not have survived outside the womb at the time of miscarriage, he ruled.
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:02 AM   #2
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what publication is this article from?

aside from being a really gross situation, this touches on so, so, so many of the issues surrounding abortion.

going to sit back and see how this thread develops ...
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:10 AM   #3
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its from the Detroit News...

http://www.detnews.com/2005/metro/0501/05/A01-50709.htm
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:10 PM   #4
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Normal

This has been on the news a lot where I live, obviously.

They both should have been charged for doing such a sick, horrible thing.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:18 PM   #5
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It certainly was a sick, horrible thing to do.

However, if this girl had had her fetus aborted in a clinic, then it would have been a noble expression of her rights.

Can someone who is pro-abortion please explain to me why there is a difference.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:18 PM   #6
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this is simply horrific and disgusting.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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I agree this is sick but I also feel this happened because of the abortion law requiring the girl to get permission from the court and her parents. If this law was not in place, she could have gone to medical doctor and had the abortion. Those laws force teens to engage in illegal practices to get abortions which can bring harm to them and others.
Teens are going to have sex and those stupid abortion laws are not going to change that.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:40 PM   #8
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Sheltie,

Using your line of reasoning then.....

Drug laws are bad because the laws force teens to engage in illegal practices to get drugs which can bring harm to them and others. Teens are going to do drugs and stupid drug laws are not going to change that.

Would you agree?
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher

However, if this girl had had her fetus aborted in a clinic, then it would have been a noble expression of her rights.

This statement is a good illustration of why these kinds of threads get out of hand. Wait until someone actually calls getting an abortion "a noble expression" before using this kind of ridiculous strawman just to bait pro-choicers here.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:16 PM   #10
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Someone please employ a little empathy. Who, in their right mind would allow themselves to be struck with a baseball bat over a two week period?

Can you imagine the incredible fear of the consequences that would take you to do this sort of thing?

I am pro choice but I also believe that abortion has its limits. After 4 months of conception abortion should be illegal because the fetus is now formed and will sustain pain.

Before those 4 months, however, allow it. For the love of God, have some empathy.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by strannix


This statement is a good illustration of why these kinds of threads get out of hand. Wait until someone actually calls getting an abortion "a noble expression" before using this kind of ridiculous strawman just to bait pro-choicers here.



nicely said. i had typed a response, then deleted it. yours was much better than one i could have come up with.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:18 PM   #12
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maybe Max's use of the phrase "noble expression" wasn't well placed...but, Max has a strong point. If it was done in a clinic it would have been seen as a woman doing as she wishes with her body and it would be protected under the laws of this country.

There are so many contradictions in this country.....

it's against the law to kill somebody, unless it's being carried out by the state in the form of a death penalty...

abortion is a legally protected right that women have...unless it is carried out in a manner like in the story above....

it's all just insanity
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher

However, if this girl had had her fetus aborted in a clinic, then it would have been a noble expression of her rights.

Can someone who is pro-abortion please explain to me why there is a difference.
I was wondering when the agenda was coming out. If you can't see the difference then obviously a discussion is useless.
Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher

Sheltie,

Using your line of reasoning then.....

Drug laws are bad because the laws force teens to engage in illegal practices to get drugs which can bring harm to them and others. Teens are going to do drugs and stupid drug laws are not going to change that.

Would you agree?
You are comparing something that's legal with something that's illegal, it's a ridiculous analogy.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:26 PM   #14
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I agree my use of "noble expression" was not well placed and could be viewed as bating. Sorry!
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:29 PM   #15
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I won't even comment on anything else, but I also find it tragic that they couldn't confide in their parents. I'm assuming they couldn't

Oh, I just re-read it, the part about his mother helping to bury the baby. Good Lord..
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