The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that personhood rights apply to a fetus that is killed in the event that a pregnant woman carrying a 'viable fetus' is murdered.
In Commonwealth v. Ronchi, the court ruled to uphold two first-degree murder convictions of a man who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend to death. She was nine months pregnant at the time of her death.
The defendant had maintained that he should not be held responsible for the baby's death since he did not implicitly stab the baby.
But according to CBN News, the court said in its ruling that "infliction of prenatal injuries resulting in the death of a viable fetus, before or after it is born, is homicide."
The man has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
"Killing is not murder unless a human being has been killed," the lower court said in its initial ruling. "A viable fetus is a human being under the law of homicide. A fetus is viable when there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus's sustained survival outside the womb, with or without artificial support."
Mat Staver, the Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement that the ruling makes "perfect sense."
"It makes no sense to call this 'choice' when the mother does the killing. Homicide can only be committed against a person – a human being. Homicide cannot be committed against property or a non-person.
"Plain and simple – abortion is homicide because the act of killing the child is the same whether it is done by a violent actor or a doctor in a white lab coat," Staver added.
In 1984, a court ruled in Commonwealth v. Cass that a driver was responsible for motor vehicle homicide after the car he was driving struck and killed a woman who was eight and a half months pregnant. The crash also killed the unborn child.
The court ruled that "infliction of prenatal injuries resulting in the death of a viable fetus, before or after it is born, is homicide. … We believe that our criminal law should extend its protection to viable fetuses."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brian A. Jackson
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.