By Peter J. Smith

COLUMBUS, Ohio, October 20, 2010 ( – An Ohio man faces a charge of attempted murder for forcing his girlfriend at gunpoint to drive to a local abortion clinic and abort their unborn child.

On October 6, police said Yolanda Burgess, 26, had changed her mind about her scheduled abortion before boyfriend Dominic Holt-Reid took out a .45 caliber handgun and said she had no choice.

Police say Holt-Reid then forced Burgess to drive to an abortion clinic on the East Side. Employees at the abortion clinic called the police after Burgess passed them a note explaining her situation.

Police arrested Holt-Reid, who was waiting in the parking lot with the handgun tucked in his pants, according to the Dispatch.

Originally, Holt-Reid was only facing charges of kidnapping and unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon. But a Franklin County grand jury expanded the indictment to include a charge of “attempted murder” against Burgess’s unborn child.

“The (state) murder statute was amended a few years back to prohibit ‘unlawful termination of a pregnancy,'” county prosecutor Ron O’Brien explained to the Dispatch, “in order to avoid the debate whether an unborn fetus is a ‘person’ under the law.”

“I have tried homicides where the murder victim was pregnant, and we were able to charge and convict for two counts, but this case is the first under these kinds of facts,” he added.

Earlier in October, prosecutors put a 21-year-old New York man on trial over a plot to kill his ex-girlfriend’s unborn child that was thwarted by police. Alexei S. Ramey was under arrest for plotting to hire an assailant to stab his former girlfriend’s unborn child to death, and even murder her in the process, for the price of $500 and a brand new washing machine. (see coverage)

U.S. studies have shown that homicide is a leading cause of death among pregnant women.

A 2001 study by doctors Isabelle Horon and Diana Cheng and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the “disturbing finding that a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause.”

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed up with a separate study in 2005 reported in the American Journal of Public Health (March, 2005) that homicide accounted for 31 percent of traumatic maternal deaths. The CDC cautioned the number could be much higher as not all states have effective reporting mechanisms for causes of maternal deaths.

See related coverage by

Police Thwart Murder-for-Hire of Ex-Girlfriend and Unborn Child

Houston Mom Shielded Unborn Baby while Stabbed to Death

Calif. Judge Gives Man 50-Yr. Sentence for Murdering Unborn Baby

Famed Blind Singer Andrea Boccelli Reveals, He Was Almost Aborted