Should a pregnant women be allowed to use lethal force...

Edited 1 month, 14 days ago

Poll: Should a pregnant women be allowed to use lethal force... (11 votes)

Yes 91%
No 9%

So here's the question in full without having to worry about the 60 character cap: Should a pregnant women be legally allowed to use lethal force against an assailant when it is not necessary to protect her own life but it is necessary to protect the life of her unborn child?

In other words if the assailant is not posing a threat of death or permanent injury to the woman herself, but his actions (for example he is striking her abdomen) could cause a miscarriage or otherwise kill or permanently harm the unborn baby?

A few years ago a state (I think Louisiana but I'm not sure) did pass a law stating that a woman could use lethal force in such a case.

I think without such a law most juries still would not convict a woman in such a case, or if convicted the penalty would be very light. I think what such a law would do is that it would prevent the woman from even being charged, and protect her from wrongful death lawsuits.

Would you favor or oppose such a law. I would favor it. I think a woman is well within her natural rights to use deadly force in order to defend her child even if the child is still in the womb. To punish a woman for doing so would be to punish her for acting in accordance with her own basic nature: it is a basic instinct to defend one's offspring and to value the life and well-being of their offspring above that of an assailant.

#1 Posted by Motokid6 (5008 posts) -

Nope. The woman should just sit there and let herself be attacked.

...

#2 Posted by Master_Live (13612 posts) -

Blow his head up I say.

#3 Posted by jasean79 (2177 posts) -

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.

#4 Posted by thegerg (14366 posts) -

yes

#5 Edited by whipassmt (13831 posts) -

@Motokid6 said:

Nope. The woman should just sit there and let herself be attacked.

...

Blow his head up I say.

It seems like common sense and something most people would support. But it is odd that most states do not explicitly state so in their laws; maybe they feel it is sufficient to let that be implicit.

#6 Posted by thegerg (14366 posts) -

@Motokid6 said:

Nope. The woman should just sit there and let herself be attacked.

...

@Master_Live said:

Blow his head up I say.

It seems like common sense and something most people would support. But it is odd that most states do not explicitly state so in their laws; maybe they feel it is sufficient to let that be implicit.

Most things that are permitted are not explicitly stated in law.

#7 Edited by whipassmt (13831 posts) -
#8 Posted by XilePrincess (13096 posts) -

Is lethal force always necessary? Subduing the attacker could be enough. But whether this is a baby the mother wants, or a child that's already born, I would defend a woman's right to fend off anyone who is trying to harm her child with any force she sees necessary.

@jasean79 said:

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.


I don't think this calls into question the rights or 'person status' of a fetus. Equating this to abortion is ridiculous. It has everything to do with the mother and nothing to do with the fetus.

If the woman WANTS the child (which SHE is carrying in HER body, the body she has every right to make decisions regarding), and is intending to keep the pregnancy, anything one does against her will to attempt to end the pregnancy is assault. Tricking her into taking (abortion) meds that she did not want, pushing her down the stairs, or punching her in the gut are all assault on a person whether there was a fetus inside her at the time or not.

The baby doesn't matter in regards to whether a crime was committed. Assault is a crime. But on top of that, intent is considered. If a woman wants to keep the child and somebody (not necessarily the father) does something to her with the intent of hurting the baby or forcing a miscarriage, nobody with a conscience is going to say that's okay to do, regardless of where they fall on the pro-choice or pro-life spectrum. Nobody has the right to assault you, as a pregnant woman, just because they think you shouldn't have a baby.


Pro-choice is not pro-assault. The CHOICE part of pro-choice is the choice of the woman carrying the child and nobody else. This scenario of defending yourself and the pregnancy you want to keep from someone who is attacking you with the intent to harm you enough to miscarry the fetus has absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

#9 Posted by jasean79 (2177 posts) -

Is lethal force always necessary? Subduing the attacker could be enough. But whether this is a baby the mother wants, or a child that's already born, I would defend a woman's right to fend off anyone who is trying to harm her child with any force she sees necessary.

@jasean79 said:

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.

I don't think this calls into question the rights or 'person status' of a fetus. Equating this to abortion is ridiculous. It has everything to do with the mother and nothing to do with the fetus.

If the woman WANTS the child (which SHE is carrying in HER body, the body she has every right to make decisions regarding), and is intending to keep the pregnancy, anything one does against her will to attempt to end the pregnancy is assault. Tricking her into taking (abortion) meds that she did not want, pushing her down the stairs, or punching her in the gut are all assault on a person whether there was a fetus inside her at the time or not.

The baby doesn't matter in regards to whether a crime was committed. Assault is a crime. But on top of that, intent is considered. If a woman wants to keep the child and somebody (not necessarily the father) does something to her with the intent of hurting the baby or forcing a miscarriage, nobody with a conscience is going to say that's okay to do, regardless of where they fall on the pro-choice or pro-life spectrum. Nobody has the right to assault you, as a pregnant woman, just because they think you shouldn't have a baby.

Pro-choice is not pro-assault. The CHOICE part of pro-choice is the choice of the woman carrying the child and nobody else. This scenario of defending yourself and the pregnancy you want to keep from someone who is attacking you with the intent to harm you enough to miscarry the fetus has absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

I know the two are separate, but the OP's question was very particular in whether or not a pregnant woman using deadly force to protect the baby is justified if the assault would not prove deadly otherwise.

I used the pro-choice reference because in that argument, those who are for abortion always say that a fetus is not a life and the woman has the choice to abort if she feels necessary. So, if a woman is a few months pregnant and decides to abort, that's okay because the fetus isn't really a life and therefore her actions are justified. BUT, if she is assaulted and the assailant is putting her pregnancy at risk, then her actions to use deadly force to protect her baby is justified...even though it may not be viewed as a life at the time.

I'm speaking strictly hypothetically, because I'm sure the above wouldn't be considered along the same lines as you say. It was just a thought I had, nothing more. :)

#10 Edited by Open-Casket (72 posts) -

I'd probably support it. You have to be some sort of sicko to beat up a pregnant woman. Might have some grey areas though, per usual as a lot of cases.

#11 Posted by thegerg (14366 posts) -

Is lethal force always necessary? Subduing the attacker could be enough. But whether this is a baby the mother wants, or a child that's already born, I would defend a woman's right to fend off anyone who is trying to harm her child with any force she sees necessary.

@jasean79 said:

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.

I don't think this calls into question the rights or 'person status' of a fetus. Equating this to abortion is ridiculous. It has everything to do with the mother and nothing to do with the fetus.

If the woman WANTS the child (which SHE is carrying in HER body, the body she has every right to make decisions regarding), and is intending to keep the pregnancy, anything one does against her will to attempt to end the pregnancy is assault. Tricking her into taking (abortion) meds that she did not want, pushing her down the stairs, or punching her in the gut are all assault on a person whether there was a fetus inside her at the time or not.

The baby doesn't matter in regards to whether a crime was committed. Assault is a crime. But on top of that, intent is considered. If a woman wants to keep the child and somebody (not necessarily the father) does something to her with the intent of hurting the baby or forcing a miscarriage, nobody with a conscience is going to say that's okay to do, regardless of where they fall on the pro-choice or pro-life spectrum. Nobody has the right to assault you, as a pregnant woman, just because they think you shouldn't have a baby.

Pro-choice is not pro-assault. The CHOICE part of pro-choice is the choice of the woman carrying the child and nobody else. This scenario of defending yourself and the pregnancy you want to keep from someone who is attacking you with the intent to harm you enough to miscarry the fetus has absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

"Is lethal force always necessary?"

Of course not. Why do you ask?

#12 Edited by Korvus (2342 posts) -

She should be allowed to, but only if lethal force is necessary. Killing somehow should never be the "go to" means of self-defense.

#13 Posted by 4myAmuzumament (1743 posts) -

Yes.

If he were present, should the father be allowed to use lethal force as well? I think so.

#14 Posted by lostrib (31476 posts) -

I thought you could use lethal force for self defense could be extended to the protection of others. Also, strikes to the abdomen can still be life threatening

#15 Posted by MrGeezer (55937 posts) -

Here's my question...how the hell is the woman supposed to know that the assault is merely lethal to the fetus and not potentially lethal to herself? If the assault is severe enough to kill the fetus, then I think the woman is justified in thinking that it's potentially fatal to herself as well. So I'd say she should be allowed to use lethal force regardless of the fetus.

#16 Edited by airshocker (28201 posts) -

You are legally allowed to use deadly force if you believe you are about to be injured. Having a miscarriage because you're being attacked qualifies.

#17 Edited by whipassmt (13831 posts) -

@XilePrincess: Lethal force isn't always necessary, but I said if it is necessary should she be able to use it. I was presuming that the assailant was a man, so it would be harder for a woman to subdue him since men are generally larger and stronger.

I thought of another scenario, though it's probably a bit far fetched. Let's say a woman schedules an abortion, goes in, sees the ultrasound and has second thoughts. When she's hooked up to the operating table she decides not to go through with it. Three times she tells the doctor that she does not want the abortion, but the doctor ignores her and proceeds to try to start aborting anyway. She has a gun in her pocket? Would she be justified in shooting? she doesn't have much time, he's about to put her under with anesthesia.

@jasean79 said:

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.

I think most pro-choicers might actually be fine with restrictions on abortion past five-months of pregnancy ( In any case many European countries only allow abortion up until 3 months of pregnancy.

#18 Posted by Jacobistheman (3975 posts) -

Is lethal force always necessary? Subduing the attacker could be enough. But whether this is a baby the mother wants, or a child that's already born, I would defend a woman's right to fend off anyone who is trying to harm her child with any force she sees necessary.

@jasean79 said:

Well, that depends on if the jury views the fetus as a "person" or not. This would be interesting especially for all the liberal, pro-choice advocates out there. I'd love to see which way they would sway if such a crime were to happen to, let's say, a woman that's 5 months pregnant.

I don't think this calls into question the rights or 'person status' of a fetus. Equating this to abortion is ridiculous. It has everything to do with the mother and nothing to do with the fetus.

If the woman WANTS the child (which SHE is carrying in HER body, the body she has every right to make decisions regarding), and is intending to keep the pregnancy, anything one does against her will to attempt to end the pregnancy is assault. Tricking her into taking (abortion) meds that she did not want, pushing her down the stairs, or punching her in the gut are all assault on a person whether there was a fetus inside her at the time or not.

The baby doesn't matter in regards to whether a crime was committed. Assault is a crime. But on top of that, intent is considered. If a woman wants to keep the child and somebody (not necessarily the father) does something to her with the intent of hurting the baby or forcing a miscarriage, nobody with a conscience is going to say that's okay to do, regardless of where they fall on the pro-choice or pro-life spectrum. Nobody has the right to assault you, as a pregnant woman, just because they think you shouldn't have a baby.

Pro-choice is not pro-assault. The CHOICE part of pro-choice is the choice of the woman carrying the child and nobody else. This scenario of defending yourself and the pregnancy you want to keep from someone who is attacking you with the intent to harm you enough to miscarry the fetus has absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

But what about the case where the father wants the baby and the mother doesn't. It is still half his kid and you are creating a double standard.

(I agree that pro-choice is not pro-assault and there is no case where the father should be able to kill the kid, but why should the mother be able to?)

#19 Posted by XilePrincess (13096 posts) -

@XilePrincess: Lethal force isn't always necessary, but I said if it is necessary should she be able to use it. I was presuming that the assailant was a man, so it would be harder for a woman to subdue him since men are generally larger and stronger.

I thought of another scenario, though it's probably a bit far fetched. Let's say a woman schedules an abortion, goes in, sees the ultrasound and has second thoughts. When she's hooked up to the operating table she decides not to go through with it. Three times she tells the doctor that she does not want the abortion, but the doctor ignores her and proceeds to try to start aborting anyway. She has a gun in her pocket? Would she be justified in shooting? she doesn't have much time, he's about to put her under with anesthesia.


When I think "lethal" I think deadly, so I mean shooting him in the knee instead of the head, or something. Breaking a rib with a crowbar instead of killing him by beating him with it until his skull cracks, you know?


In the example case, I would say she has every right to try to stop the procedure, but considering the woman isn't wearing any pants (and likely has none of her personal items on or near her) I doubt she'd have a pocket to keep a gun in. But let's say she has something else she can use to stop him, yes, she would be justified in trying to stop him any way she could. Shooting to kill would be a stupid thing to do for her if she doesn't want to spend her life behind bars (doctor vs average person, the doctor has more credibility), but shooting to maim would be absolutely okay.

If a doctor ever went against a patient's wishes that way there would be extreme legal ramifications. I don't think they'd jeopardize their whole career over one chick's baby.

But what about the case where the father wants the baby and the mother doesn't. It is still half his kid and you are creating a double standard.

(I agree that pro-choice is not pro-assault and there is no case where the father should be able to kill the kid, but why should the mother be able to?)

My personal belief is that until science develops a way to grow a baby from conception to birth in a test tube or artificial womb (not that I think that would be a good idea, but I'm sure it'll happen) the mother's rights always outweigh the father's. SHE has to carry the pregnancy, SHE to deliver the baby. It is HER body that is being inhabited by something she may not want there.

Women are not incubators with no body autonomy. Without the mother and the participating womb, there is no pregnancy. Until the male has the ability to care for the growing fetus as a woman would in a science-y fish tank, and needs NO participation or involvement from her, her rights as the person carrying the child outweigh his as the sperm donor.

I am aware of the double standard, but if you really understand the ins and outs of pregnancy and birth you know that it's a physically straining task that requires a lot of effort. I wouldn't like to be subjected to all of that against my will, would you?

Though, nobody is advocating for the murder of children. Abortion is not murder, abortion is the dislodging of a lump of cells. But to answer your question in the way I'm sure you meant it, the father is not allowed to forcibly abort his child from inside another person's body because to do so he is assaulting the woman. He has to either drug her against her will or physically assault her to get rid of it. A woman taking a pill (which is what a very large number of abortions are done by) does not assault the father of the fetus or hurt him in any physical way.

#20 Posted by ad1x2 (5401 posts) -

If I'm not mistaken you don't always have to prove that your life is in danger to use deadly force. For example, if you know someone is trying to rape you and you shoot them chances are you won't be charged even though rape won't result in death the vast majority of the time. Also, you can justify deadly force simply by saying you don't know if the attacker simply wanted to Falcon Punch you or if they was going to keep going until you were dead.

#21 Edited by whipassmt (13831 posts) -

@ad1x2:

It varies by state, but I think in general deadly force is allowed when the attacker uses force that pose a threat of death or serious bodily injury, but not minor injuries (e.g. a black eye). I believe that it what the news said Florida's law is during the Zimmerman trial. I think you're right about the laws allowing lethal force if needed to stop rape. In any case the burden is to prove that the defendant is guilty, so the prosecution would have to prove that lethal force was not necessary and that the defendant's life was not at risk, rather than the defendant proven that he was in danger.

#22 Posted by thegerg (14366 posts) -

@whipassmt said:

@XilePrincess: Lethal force isn't always necessary, but I said if it is necessary should she be able to use it. I was presuming that the assailant was a man, so it would be harder for a woman to subdue him since men are generally larger and stronger.

I thought of another scenario, though it's probably a bit far fetched. Let's say a woman schedules an abortion, goes in, sees the ultrasound and has second thoughts. When she's hooked up to the operating table she decides not to go through with it. Three times she tells the doctor that she does not want the abortion, but the doctor ignores her and proceeds to try to start aborting anyway. She has a gun in her pocket? Would she be justified in shooting? she doesn't have much time, he's about to put her under with anesthesia.

When I think "lethal" I think deadly, so I mean shooting him in the knee instead of the head, or something. Breaking a rib with a crowbar instead of killing him by beating him with it until his skull cracks, you know?

Shooting someone in the knee is lethal force.