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Fetal Homicide State Laws

Fetal Homicide Laws

ScaleUpdated February 2013

State Laws || Resources

The debate over fetal rights is not new to the legislative arena.  Every year pro-life and pro-choice advocates vie for the upper hand in this contentious issue.  In recent years, states have expanded this debate to include the issue of fetuses killed by violent acts against pregnant women. In some states, legislation has increased the criminal penalties for crimes involving pregnant women.  These laws have focused on the harm done to a pregnant woman and the subsequent loss of her pregnancy, but not on the rights of the fetus.

Other legislation has defined the fetus as a person under fetal homicide or "feticide" laws.  Such legislation is hotly debated under names such as the Fetal Protection Act, the Preborn Victims of Violence Act and the Unborn Victim of Violence Act.  Those supporting these acts, often pro-life advocates, say that both the lives of the pregnant woman and the fetus should be explicitly protected.  They assert that fetal homicide laws justly criminalize these cases and provide an opportunity to protect unborn children and their mothers.

Those on the other side feel that laws to protect a fetus could become a "slippery slope" that could jeopardize a woman's right to choose an abortion.  Pro-choice advocates say such laws grant a fetus legal status distinct from the pregnant woman - possibly creating an adversarial relationship between a woman and her baby.  They are also concerned that the laws could be interpreted to apply to a woman's behavior during her pregnancy (such as smoking, drinking or using drugs).  They prefer criminalizing an assault on a pregnant woman and recognizing her as the only victim.

Currently, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws.  The states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. At least 23 states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy ("any state of gestation," "conception," "fertilization" or "post-fertilization"); these are indicated below with an asterisk (*).
 

First Letter of State A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W
State Summary of Statutes and Case Laws
Alabama* Ala. Code § 13A-6-1 (2006) defines "person," for the purpose of criminal homicide or assaults, to include an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability and specifies that nothing in the act shall make it a crime to perform or obtain an abortion that is otherwise legal.
Alaska Alaska. Stat. § 11.41.150 et seq., § 11.81.250, § 12.55.035, and § 12.55.125 (2005) relate to offenses against unborn children.  The law provides that a defendant convicted of murder in the second degree or murder of an unborn child shall be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of at least 10 years but no more than 99 years. The law does not apply to acts that cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during a legal abortion to which the pregnant woman consented or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf consented, or for which such consent is implied by law.
Arizona* Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1102, § 13-1103, § 13-1104 and § 13-1105 define negligent homicide, manslaughter and first and second degree murder.  The law specifies that the offenses apply to an unborn child at any stage in its development.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann § 13-701, § 13-704, § 13-705 and § 13-751 define aggravated circumstances in the sentence of death or life imprisonment.  The law specifies that the defendant shall not be released until the completion of 35 years if the murdered person was under 15 years of age or was an unborn child.  The law states that for the purposes of punishment, an unborn child shall be treated like a minor under 12 years of age.
Arkansas Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-1-102(13) defines "person," as used in § 5-10-101 through § 5-10-105, to include an unborn child of 12 weeks or more gestation. The law specifies that these provisions do not apply to an act that causes the death of an unborn child in utero if the act was committed during a legal abortion to which the woman consented, an act committed pursuant to a usual and customary standard of medical practice during testing or treatment, or an act committed in the course of medical research, experimental medicine or an act deemed necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-10-101 through § 5-10-105 define capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter and negligent homicide.
California Cal. Penal Code § 187 (a) defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-1.3-401 (13) specifies that a court shall sentence a defendant convicted of committing specified offenses against a pregnant woman, if the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was pregnant, to a term of at least the midpoint, but not more than twice the maximum, of the presumptive range for the punishment of the offense.

Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-1.3-501 (6) establishes that a court shall sentence a defendant convicted of assault in the third degree to a term of imprisonment of at least six months, but not longer than the maximum sentence authorized for the offense, if the victim of the assault was a pregnant woman and the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.
Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-1.3-1201 defines aggravating factors in the sentence of death or life imprisonment. The law defines the intentional killing of a pregnant woman with the knowledge that she was pregnant as an aggravating factor. 
Connecticut  -
Delaware  -
District of Columbia   -
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 316.193 (2005) defines DUI manslaughter to include the death of an unborn quick child.
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.071 defines vehicular homicide as the killing of a human being, or the killing of a viable fetus by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.09 defines murder as the willful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother.  The law also defines manslaughter.
Georgia* Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-80 defines feticide.  A person commits the offense of feticide if he or she willfully kills an unborn child so far developed as to be ordinarily called "quick" by causing any injury to the mother of such child.  The penalty for feticide is imprisonment for life.
Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-393.1 defines vehicular feticide and provides for penalties.   
Ga. Code Ann. § 52-7-12.3 defines the term "unborn child" to mean a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.  The law defines feticide by watercraft in the first and second degrees and provides for penalties.
Hawaii  -
Idaho* Idaho Code § 18-4001§ 18-4006 and § 18-4016 (2002) declare that murder includes the unlawful killing of a human embryo or fetus under certain conditions. The law provides that manslaughter includes the unlawful killing of a human embryo or fetus without malice. The law defines "embryo" or "fetus" as any human in utero. These laws do not apply to conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law, or to any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her embryo or fetus.
Illinois* Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 720 § 5/9-1.2, § 5/9-2.1 and § 5/9-3.2 define intentional homicide of an unborn child, voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide of an unborn child, respectively.  The laws define "unborn child" as any individual of the human species from fertilization until birth. The laws also specify that these provisions do not apply to acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during any abortion to which the pregnant woman has consented or to acts which were committed pursuant to usual and customary standards of medical practice during testing or treatment. (1986 Ill. Laws, P.A. 84-1414; 1987 Ill. Laws, P.A. 85-293; 2000 Ill. Laws, P.A. 91-404; 2010 Ill. Laws, P.A. 96-1000)
Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 720 § 5/12-3.1, § 5/12-3.2 (2004) and § 5/12-4.4 define battery and aggravated battery of an unborn child.
Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 730 § 5/3-6-3 directs the Department of Corrections to prescribe rules and regulations for awarding and revoking sentence credit and specify that a prisoner serving a sentence for attempt to commit the intentional homicide of an unborn child shall receive no more than 4.5 days of sentence credit for each month of his or her sentence.
2010 Ill. Laws, P.A. 1294 amended the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 730 § 154/1 et seq.) to include aggravated battery of an unborn child as a "violent offense against youth." (2010 SB 3305; 2011 HB 263)
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 35-41-1-25 defines serious bodily injury as bodily injury that causes the loss of a fetus.
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-1-3 defines voluntary manslaughter as a person who knowingly or intentionally kills a fetus that has attained viability while acting under sudden heat and provides penalties.
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-1-4 defines involuntary manslaughter to include a person who kills a fetus that has attained viability while committing or attempting to commit specified felonies that pose a risk of serious bodily injury, specified misdemeanors that pose a risk of serious bodily injury or battery. The law was amended in 2010 by Ind. Acts, P.L. 7 (SB 71) to include a violation of Ind. Code Ann. 9-30-5-1 et seq., which define operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The law refers to Ind. Code Ann. § 16-18-2-365, which defines viability as the ability of a fetus to live outside the mother's womb.
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-1-6 specifies that a person who knowingly or intentionally terminates a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus commits feticide; the law does not apply to an abortion. The law was amended in 2009 to change feticide from a Class C to a Class B felony. (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 40, SB 236)
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.5 defines aggravated battery as a person who knowingly or intentionally inflicts injury on a person that causes the loss of a fetus.
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-9(b)(16) allows the state to seek either a death sentence or a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for murder by alleging the victim of the murder was pregnant and the murder resulted in the intentional killing of a fetus that has attained viability.
Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-16 (2009) allows the state to seek an additional fixed term of imprisonment if a person, while committing or attempting to commit murder, caused the termination of a pregnancy. Prosecution of the murder or attempted murder and the enhancement of the penalty for that crime does not require proof that the person committing or attempting to commit the murder had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim was pregnant or that the defendant intended to cause the termination of a pregnancy. The additional consecutive term of imprisonment may be between six and 20 years. (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 40, SB 236)
Iowa Iowa Code §707.8 provides penalties for the nonconsensual termination or serious injury to a human pregnancy. Specifically, the law defines penalties for a person who terminates a human pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant person under specified circumstances. The law also defines serious injury to a human pregnancy and provides for penalties to a person who causes serious injury to a human pregnancy under specified circumstances. 
Kansas* Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5419 "Alexa's Law" defines "unborn child" as a living individual organism of the species Homo sapiens, in utero, at any stage of gestation from fertilization to birth.  The law specifies that "person" and "human being" shall also mean an unborn child as used in Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5401 through § 21-5406 and § 21-5413 which define murder in the first and second degrees, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, battery, aggravated battery, capital murder and involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (2010 HB 2668)
Kentucky* Ky. Rev. Stat. § 507A.010 et seq. (2004) define "unborn child" as a member of the species Homo sapiens in utero from conception onward, without regard to age, health or condition of dependency. The laws define fetal homicide in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees. These laws do not apply to acts performed during any abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman has been obtained or for which the consent is implied by law in a medical emergency. (2004 HB 108)
Louisiana* La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:32.5 defines feticide as the killing of an unborn child by the act, procurement, or culpable omission of a person other than the mother of the unborn child.  The offense of feticide shall not include acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during any abortion to which the pregnant woman or her legal guardian has consented or which was performed in an emergency.  Nor shall the offense of feticide include acts which are committed pursuant to usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:32.6 (2006) defines first degree feticide as the killing of an unborn child when the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm, and includes the killing of an unborn child when the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated escape, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, terrorism, or simple robbery, even though he has no intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:32.7 (1989) defines second degree feticide as the killing of an unborn child which would be first degree feticide, but the offense is committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation of the mother of the unborn child sufficient to deprive an average person of his self control and cool reflection; and is defined as feticide committed without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
La. Rev. Stat.  Ann. § 14:2 (7), (11) defines "person" as a human being from the moment of fertilization and implantation and also includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not.  "Unborn child" means any individual of the human species from fertilization and implantation until birth.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:32.8 (2006, 2008) defines third degree feticide as the killing of an unborn child by criminal negligence; and is defined as the killing of an unborn child caused proximately or caused directly by an offender engaged in the operation of, or in actual physical control of, any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other means of conveyance whether or not the offender had the intent to cause death or great bodily harm whenever specified conditions occur and such conditions were a contributing factor to the killing. (2008 SB 382)
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32.414(B)(1) was amended by 2010 La. Acts, P.A. 403 to allow the suspension of a driver's license for 24 months of any person who is convicted of committing third degree feticide as defined in § 14:32.8. (2010 HB 1231)
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A § 208-C provides that a person is guilty of elevated aggravated assault on a pregnant person if that person intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to a person they know or has reason to know is pregnant. "Serious bodily injury" is defined to include bodily injury that results in the termination of a pregnancy. These provisions do not apply to an abortion for which the pregnant woman has consented, or to any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or the fetus. (2005 Me. Laws, Chap. 408, LD 262)
Maryland Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. § 2-103 establishes that a prosecution may be instituted for murder or manslaughter of a viable fetus as defined in Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-209. A person prosecuted for murder or manslaughter must have intended to cause the death of the viable fetus; intended to cause serious physical injury to the viable fetus; or wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the viable fetus. (2005 Md. Laws, Chap. 546)
Massachusetts # Commonwealth vs. Lawrence, 536 N.E.2d 571 (Mass. 1973) affirms the conviction for murder of a woman and involuntary manslaughter of her 27-week-old fetus.
Commonwealth vs. Cass, 467 N.E.2d 1324 (Mass. 1984) rules that a viable fetus is within the ambit of the term "person" in the vehicular homicide statute.  The case refers to Mass. Gen Law, ch. 90 § 24G, which defines vehicular homicide. 
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.322 defines the willful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother of the child as manslaughter.
Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.323 declares that any person who administers medicines, drugs or substances to any woman pregnant with a quick child or uses an instrument or other means to destroy the child, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of the mother, is guilty of manslaughter.
Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.90a et seq. define penalties and punishments if any of the crimes defined by § 750.81 et seq. (including assault and battery; felonious assault; torture; and assault with intent to murder, do great bodily harm, maim, or rob and steal), are committed against a pregnant woman and were intended to cause or result in a miscarriage or stillbirth or death to the embryo or fetus, great bodily harm to the embryo or fetus, serious or aggravated physical injury to the embryo or fetus, or physical injury to the embryo or fetus.
Minnesota* Minn. Stat. § 609.205 and § 609.266 et seq. define unborn child and provide penalties for an assault to a pregnant woman and subsequent harm to an unborn child.  The law also defines an assault of an unborn child and provides penalties.  The law defines murder of an unborn child in the first, second and third degrees and provides penalties.   
Minn. Stat. §609.21 declares that a person is guilty of criminal vehicular operation if an unborn child is killed in the act.  The law also states that as punishment, this person may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both. (2004 Minn. Laws, Chap. 283; SB 58)
Mississippi* Miss. Code Ann. § 11.7.13 describes circumstances when a person may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action, and includes circumstances related to the death of an unborn quick child.  The law excludes acts committed by the mother, a medical procedure performed by a medical professional or lawfully prescribed medication.
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19 defines murder to include murder that is done with deliberate design to effect the death of an unborn child.
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-37 provides a list of the criminal offenses, including murder, homicide and assault, in which the definition of “human being” includes an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception to live birth. 2011 Miss. Laws, Chap. 307 amended the law by changing the punishments for the defined offenses.
Missouri  -
Montana  -
Nebraska* Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-388 et seq. create the Homicide of the Unborn Child Act.  The law defines premeditation and unborn child. The law defines murder of an unborn child in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide. The law was amended in 2003 to change provisions relating to driving under the influence and amends provisions regarding motor vehicle homicide.  Provides a penalty for motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child and recognizes an action for an unborn child in wrongful death cases. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-394, which defines motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child, was amended in 2011 by LB 667 to specify that motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child shall be treated as a separate and distinct offense.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-395 et seq. create the Assault of the Unborn Child Act. The law defines assault of the unborn child in the first, second and third degree.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-6,198 states that any person who causes serious bodily injury to another person or an unborn child of a pregnant woman while operating a motor vehicle is guilty of a class IIIA felony and defines penalties.
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.210 defines manslaughter as a person who willfully kills an unborn quick child by any injury committed upon the mother of the child. 
New Hampshire  -
New Jersey  -
New Mexico  -
New York  -
North Carolina* 2011 N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap. 60 (HB 215) defines murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault inflicting serious bodily injury and assault of an unborn child. "Unborn child" is defined as a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb. These provisions do not apply to lawful acts that cause the death of an unborn child as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-45.1, acts that are committed in the usual standards of medical practice or acts committed by a pregnant woman that result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. The law repeals N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-18.2.
North Dakota* N.D. Cent. Code, § 12.1-17.1-01 et seq. define abortion, person and unborn child.  The law defines the murder and manslaughter of an unborn child and provides penalties. 
Ohio* Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2903.01 et seq. (2002) define aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, felonious assault, aggravated assault, assault and negligent assault. The law applies to a person, which includes an "unborn member of the species Homo sapiens, who is or was carried in the womb of another."
Oklahoma* Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 20 § 644 states that any person convicted of domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy is guilty of a misdemeanor and any person convicted of domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy and a miscarriage or injury to the unborn child occurs is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not less than 20 years. (2008 Okla. Sess. Laws, Chap 318, HB 1897)
Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 691 (2006) defines unborn child as a human being. Homicide does not include legal abortion or instances of death during normal medical, therapeutic or diagnostic testing. A mother shall not be prosecuted for the death of an unborn child unless the death was a result of criminal behavior.
Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 714 and § 652 (2005) revises civil wrongful death statutes to include the death of an unborn child; revises the provisions governing the intentional shooting with intent to kill another and any assault and battery upon another to add an unborn child; provides the penalty reference for anyone who willfully kills an unborn child; provides an exemption for a legal abortion, or the usual and customary diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment.
Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 723 (2005) specifies that any offense committed pursuant to the provisions of Section 652 and 713 of Title 21, does not require proof that the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had the knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant or that the offender intended to cause the death or bodily injury to the unborn child.
Oregon  -
Pennsylvania* Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. tit. 18 § 106 and § 1102 et seq. define classes of offenses, including crimes against an unborn child and provide penalties. Section 1102 was amended in 2008 to provide for the sentence of the first degree murder and second degree murder of an unborn child (2008 HB 1845). Section 1102.1 was created in 2012 by Pa. Laws, Act 204 (SB 850) to provide for the sentence of a person under the age of 18 for certain offenses, including murder of an unborn child.
Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. tit. 18. § 2601 et seq. define crimes again an unborn child, including criminal homicide, murder, voluntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault of an unborn child. Unborn child is defined as in § 3203, to mean an individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-23-5 defines "quick child." The willful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother of that child is deemed manslaughter.
South Carolina* S.C. Code Ann § 16-3-1083 provides that a person who commits a violent crime that causes the death of, or injury to, a child in utero is guilty of a separate offense and that the person must be punished as if the death or injury occurred to the unborn child's mother. The law also provides that the person must be punished for murder or attempted murder if the person intentionally killed or attempted to kill the unborn child. The law defines "unborn child" as a child in utero, and "child in utero" or "child who is in utero" as a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any state of development, who is carried in the womb. The law does not apply to conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law, or to a person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child.
State vs. Horne, 319 S.E.2d 703 (S.C. 1984) reversed voluntary manslaughter conviction, holding that the killing of a viable human being in utero did not constitute a criminal homicide.  The case refers to S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-10
State vs. Ard, 505 S.E.2d328 (S.C. 1998) held, in relation to a murder conviction, that the terms "person" and "child" in S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-20 (C)(a) included a viable fetus. 
South Dakota* S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 22-16-41 defines vehicular homicide, which includes the death of an unborn child.  Amended in 2003 to revise provisions concerning court suspensions and revocations of driver licenses; relates to driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances and causing the death of another person, including an unborn child (2006 HB 1163). 

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 22-16-1.1 et seq. defines fetal homicide which refers to a person who knew, or reasonably should have known, that a woman bearing an unborn child was pregnant and caused the death of the unborn child without lawful justification.  The law provides for penalties.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 22-16-4 defines homicide as murder in the first degree to include the death of a person or any other human being, including an unborn child.
2012 Senate Bill 148 defines the crimes of criminal battery and aggravated criminal battery of an unborn child and provides penalties.
Tennessee* Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-107 and § 39-13-214 were amended in 2012 by Tenn. Pub. Act, Chap. 1006 (HB 2517/SB 2412) to define "another," "individuals" and "another person" to include a human embryo or fetus at any stage of gestation in utero, when any such term refers to the victim of any act made criminal by the provisions of the law.
Texas* Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 1.07 relates to the death of or injury to an unborn child and provides penalties.  The law defines an individual as a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.
Utah * Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-201 et seq. declares that a person commits criminal homicide if the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly causes the death of another human being, including an unborn child at any stage of its development. This law was amended by 2010 Utah Laws, Chap. 13 (HB 462) to specify that a person is not guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child if the sole reason for the death of the unborn child is that the person refused to consent to medical treatment or a cesarean section, or failed to follow medical advice. The amendment also states that a woman is not guilty of criminal homicide of her own unborn child if the death of her unborn child is caused by a criminally negligent act or reckless act of the woman and is not caused by an intentional or knowing act of the woman. The amendment also clarifies that criminal homicide constitutes aggravated murder (as defined by § 76-5-202) if the actor intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another under several circumstances, including if the victim was younger than 14 years of age, but that this does not apply to an unborn child.
Vermont  -
Virginia Va. Code § 18.2-32.2 (2004) declares that any person who unlawfully, willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation kills a fetus is guilty of a Class 2 felony.  The law also provides penalties.
2012 Va. Acts, Chap. 725 (SB 674) provides that in cases of fetal death (as defined by § 32.1-249) caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of any person, ship, vessel or corporation, the natural mother of the fetus may bring an action against such tortfeasor.  No cause of action for the death of the fetus may be brought against the mother of the fetus.
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.32.060 declares that a person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when he or she intentionally and unlawfully kills an unborn quick child by inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child.
West Virginia * W. Va. Code § 61-2-30 recognizes an embryo or fetus as a distinct unborn victim of certain crimes of violence against a person, including homicide and manslaughter.
Wisconsin* Wis. Stat. § 940.04 (2) et seq. declare that any person who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn quick child or causes the death of the mother by an act done with intent to destroy the life of an unborn child is guilty of homicide. It is unnecessary to prove that the fetus was alive when the act so causing the mother's death was committed.
 
Wyoming  -
 
 
*  Indicates states that have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy ("any state of gestation," "conception," "fertilization" or "post-fertilization").
# Massachusetts established fetal homicide/manslaughter laws only through case law, not through legislation.
Sources:  National Conference of State Legislatures and StateNet
Note: List may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.

 

Resources

States expand fetal homicide laws - Stateline.org article, August 22, 2006
Maternal and Child Health: Snapshot for Legislators (June 2004) - This booklet is intended to help legislators and legislative staff gain a better understanding of issues, resources and programs related to maternal and child health.

 

Links to Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Organizations

Note: NCSL provides links to other websites for information purposes only. Providing these links does not indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.

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