In Connor’s Name

By Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel

Congress needs to pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

“Connor” is the name Laci Peterson chose for her unborn son. It’s believed that Laci and Connor were murdered last Christmas Eve.

Laci’s body washed up on the shore of San Francisco bay on April 14, the day after Connor’s body was found on a shore not far away. It has yet to be determined where and how the murders occurred and whether Connor was thrown into the bay separately from his mother or while he was still in his mother’s womb. The umbilical cord was still attached to his body. A forensic pathologist has explained how Connor could have been expelled from Laci’s body while under the water. For purposes of charging the perpetrator with two counts of murder under California law, it matters not whether Laci and Connor entered the water separately or whether Connor ever breathed on his own.

Scott Peterson, the husband of Laci and father of Connor, has been charged with two counts of capital murder with “special circumstances,” meaning that if found guilty on both counts, Scott is subject to the death penalty.

Murder is evil. The law calls it malum in se based upon principles of natural, moral and public law. It means that even without a specific criminal prohibition, the community would think it to be an evil and wrongful act. Most agree that each of these murders was evil, except, that is, for the most rabid pro-abortionists.

Twenty-nine states have some form of fetal homicide law. California enacted its law in 1970. Penal Code § 187 (a) states: “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” The statute distinguishes between a human being and a fetus while providing as much legal protection for the unborn as possible under Roe v. Wade. Truth is – it’s a distinction without a difference.

Webster defines fetus as “a developing human from usually three months after conception to birth.” Even Webster refutes the illogical and nonsensical “potential life” description of the unborn that a majority of the Supreme Court and pro-abortionists have coined in a feeble attempt to deny reality. The unborn is human and alive – not “potential life.”

In 1988, the California Supreme Court, in People v. Bunyard, unanimously upheld the death penalty in a double homicide where one victim was unborn: “It is clear that the multiple-murder special circumstance is applicable to the killing¯by a single act¯of a pregnant woman and her viable fetus.” In 1989, the court again unanimously upheld the death penalty in a similar case, People v. Hamilton. The court stated: “The Courts of Appeal have inferred a viability limitation in light of the subsequent abortion cases, which first recognized a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus becomes viable.” In 1994, in People v. Davis, the court affirmed a lower court ruling that eliminated the viability finding: “We conclude that viability is not an element of fetal homicide under section 187, subdivision (a). The third party killing of a fetus with malice aforethought is murder under section 187, subdivision (a), as long as the state can show that the fetus has progressed beyond the embryonic stage of seven to eight weeks.” Connor was at least seven-and-a-half months gestation.

Another pro-life/pro-abortion debate has ensued over whether Connor’s death should be charged as a separate murder. For the pro-aborts, it’s just not possible to murder a fetus. Apparently, until the Connors of the world are shaking a rattle or enrolled at Harvard, pro-aborts are hesitant to admit when there’s a human being with a right to life.

The law regarding Connor’s life and death is inconsistent and poses a dilemma:

Subsection (3) of section 187 provides an exemption if “[t]he act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.” Simply put, the status of the unborn under the law and his right to life turns on whether the mother has him killed or someone else does so without her consent.

There would have been no murder charge if Laci Peterson had ended Connor’s life by abortion on Christmas Eve, and Scott Peterson would have been powerless to stop it. The same statute and Supreme Court decisions that would have prevented Scott from saving Connor’s life permit him to be charged with Connor’s murder.

Would how he died and who killed him change the facts about Connor? Would it matter for Connor’s sake? Does it matter to you? Does it matter to Congress?

If Scott Peterson had murdered Laci and Connor within federal jurisdiction, there would be but one murder charge possible under current law. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA) would change that and Congress should pass the bill before this term ends.

The UVVA amends federal statutes where applicable and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to create a separate offense for anyone causing death or bodily injury to an unborn child. Like state fetal homicide laws, it exempts “conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law in a medical emergency; for conduct relating to any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or of any woman with respect to her unborn child.” Unlike California’s fetal homicide law, the UVVA does not permit punishment by death.

NOW and other pro-abortion radicals oppose the UVVA. As always, their claim is that any law that treats the unborn as a human being “is a threat to Roe and reproductive freedom.” California’s fetal homicide law has been on the books for 30 years and tragically, it hasn’t stopped one woman from obtaining an abortion; neither would the UVVA.

NOW’s Web site refers to UVVA as paying “lip service to the problem of violence against women.”

Question: How can anyone cause death or bodily injury to an unborn child without also causing bodily injury or death to the pregnant woman? Pregnant women have been poisoned, kicked, shot, stabbed or beaten in the abdomen by men who wanted the child dead and sometimes wanted the woman dead also.

Pregnant women as a class are more likely to be victims of violence.

[M]urder is now believed to be the leading cause of death for pregnant women. An expectant mother is more likely to be killed than to succumb to a medical complication, such as embolism or hemorrhaging, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cara Krulewitch, an epidemiologist at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, looked at death records in Washington, D.C., from 1988 and 1996, and was shocked to discover that 38 percent of pregnant women who died had been victims of homicide.

Opposition to such a necessary and reasonable law clearly proves what it’s all about. And it’s about abortion – first, last and always. For the abortion lobby, women’s rights and protection for women come in second. The UVVA is added protection from violence for women of childbearing age.

Some have suggested that if Scott Peterson murdered Laci and Connor, the motive may have been that he didn’t want to be a father. He was already a father – an evil one if guilty – but a father nonetheless.

The federal law needs to recognize and protect the Connors of the world from evil people – including evil fathers.

Tell your U.S. senators to make the UVVA the law of the land, in Connor’s name. Capitol Hill switchboard: 202-225-3121.