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Virginia Mother Gets Away with Infanticide Due to ‘Loophole’ in the Law

LifeSiteNews.com

By Patrick B. Craine

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Virginia, December 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A mother who suffocated her newborn baby earlier this month in Campbell County, Virginia cannot be prosecuted, say investigators, because the umbilical cord was still attached.

"In the state of Virginia as long as the umbilical cord is attached and the placenta is still in the mother, if the baby comes out alive the mother can do whatever she wants to with that baby to kill it," stated investigator Tracy Emerson. "She could shoot the baby, stab the baby. As long as it's still attached to her in some form by umbilical cord or something it's no crime in the state of Virginia."

The baby, who was born full term around 1 a.m. on December 11th, was dead when the police arrived ten hours later.  According to the medical examiner, he or she was born healthy.  Police say the mother knew she was pregnant and had undergone prenatal care.

While the authorities have seen numerous similar killings, and have sought changes in the law, legislators have not acted thus far because they felt the issue was too close to abortion.

It appears that action will take place this time around, however.  State Senator Steve Newman announced last week that they had begun drafting a bill to protect born babies still attached to the mother.

"It is difficult to believe that the current Code could have such a flaw that would allow anyone to take the life of a born child," he said.  "While I will not comment at this time on the case in Campbell County, it is abundantly clear that Virginians will demand a legislative cure to this loophole."

But what legislators, the authorities, and media are calling a 'loophole' is, in fact, no loophole at all, commented CatholicCulture.org's Diogenes.  "It's a carefully crafted legal fiction whose sole purpose is to establish the unborn child as something less than human in order to permit its mother to kill it," he said.

"Note that if a woman wanted to give birth to a healthy child and her obstetrician did what the murderess did in the Virginia episode or what the abortionist does in a [partial birth abortion], that obstetrician would be sued if he acted through incompetence or charged with murder if he acted in malice," he continued.  "What makes a human person a human person, according to our law, is whether its mother wishes it to be—at least up to such time as it's alive and kicking apart from and independently of her."

"Our society tolerates the gross incoherence of these legal fictions because the fictions themselves are necessary lies, necessary to the public justification of abortion," he concluded.



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