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New Law Criminalizes Violence on Unborn Children

To kick-off a series on new laws taking effect in North Carolina on Thursday, WHQR News begins with The Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Sara Wood reports the Unborn Victims of Violence Act or Ethen’s Law has been circulating through the state legislature for 25 years.

The law makes it now possible for criminals to be charged with manslaughter, assault or battery on unborn children, along with their pregnant mother regardless if there is knowledge of the pregnancy. While the law is controversial among abortion rights activists, the bill’s sponsor House Speaker Pro-Tem Dale Folwell says this law has nothing to do with Roe vs. Wade.

“This issue has nothing to do with choice. Because at the end of the day, the choice of these women was not taken from them by a politician or even a conservative, the choice of these women were taken from them by a murderer. And those murderers should be charged with two crimes if this occurs in this state.”

The law was passed federally in 2004 and currently there are 35 other states that already have similar laws. 

“My motivation was to make these grieving families know that they had not been forgotten and their daughters had not been forgotten, and that it was time that the law that exists on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Camp Lejeune or Fort Bragg and in 35 other states, that that law needed to be on the books of North Carolina.”

The act was named after Jenna Nielsen, who was murdered outside of Raleigh in 2007 while she was 81/2-months pregnant with her son, Ethen.

To read the law in its entirety, go to the North Carolina General Assembly web site.