Judge Dismisses Charges Against Woman Who Killed Her Unborn Child: Pregnant Mother Shot Herself in the Stomach, Killing Her Child, Va. Judge Rules Causing Your Own Abortion Is Not a Crime (ABC News).
Tammy Skinner was a poor, desperate 22-year-old with two young children and another one on the way. She said her boyfriend wouldn't pay for an abortion, so she carried her pregnancy to term. Then she did the unthinkable.Apparently, there is precedence for such a ruling:
Prosecutors say that on the morning she was scheduled to give birth, Skinner drove to an auto dealer's parking lot, took a gun, and shot herself in the belly, killing the fetus in an act of self-abortion. Skinner was charged with carrying out an illegal abortion.
Martingayle cites a 1997 Florida case in which a teenage mother shot her womb, effectively giving herself an abortion. The woman in that case, State vs. Ashley, was acquitted, as was the mother in a similar 1998 case in Georgia.Ann Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago makes a good point:
If the right to kill the child resides totally in that child's mother -- which it does -- why would it be illegal for her to do this with a gun as opposed to with a suction vacuum machine in a doctor's officeThere does seem to be a logical conflict... or does this case evince that rare exception wherein a medical professional could rule that Skinner's mental health would be so gravely damaged by birthing another child that a third trimester pregnancy could be legally aborted?
I'm not sure what to derive from this case -- either early abortion or birthing to adoption would have been far preferable. Can pro-lifers and pro-choicers at least agree that her actions should be illegal? If so, what should be the punishment? If it shouldn't be illegal, does this encourage self-abortion?
I would not doubt that some kind of insanity was involved, though doesn't it seem that most heinous, irrational crimes require some modicum of insanity?
Skinner also said, "I got somebody to load the gun, because I didn't know how." It strikes me as strange that she couldn't load her own gun. And I wonder if that "somebody" could be liable?