AR "Fetal Protection" Act May Soon Face First Test
The "Fetal Protection" Act was enacted in the state of Arkansas just over one month ago, on July 30th. The law defined fetuses older than 12 weeks old as full persons afforded protection under homocide laws.
Now, the law will likely face its first test in the case of a burglar who kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach, killing her 9-month-old fetus. The attack occured when 23-year-old Shiwona Pace, her 29-year-old boyfriend Erik Bullock, and Pace's five-year-old son, Steven entered Bullock's home and found three masked men, one of whom was armed.
Under the new law, the burglars could face murder charges in addition to robbery and assault. Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Hendren (R-Sulphur Springs) said the law was intended to protect "babies whose mothers wanted them" from attacks such as that suffered by Pace. "This [law] was intended for just such a situation, where a woman who was planning to have a baby was deprived of that by some criminal action," said Hendren.
Media Resources: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - August 31, 1999