11/18/04 — Hypocrisy: Scott Peterson convicted of murdering unborn son

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Hypocrisy: Scott Peterson convicted of murdering unborn son

A jury in California said Scott Peterson was guilty of two murders. It said a lot more, too. It said juries are willing to convict people who kill unborn babies.

Peterson, the jury decided, killed his wife, Laci, who was pregnant with their son, Conner. California has an “unborn victims” law under which a person can be charged with two crimes if he kills or injures an unborn child while assaulting the mother.

Peterson’s jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in Laci’s death and second-degree murder in Conner’s.

Thirty-one states have unborn-victim laws. Congress passed a federal one, too, during the outcry that followed the deaths of Mrs. Peterson and her son.

These are good laws, but aren’t we looking at a little hypocrisy here?

If a doctor had killed Conner by performing a late-term abortion — whether it was to safeguard the mother’s health or simply for convenience — it would have been perfectly legal.

A law to prevent these “partial-birth” abortions has been passed and signed by President Bush, but the courts have rejected it and it is being changed to meet the courts’ test.

Meanwhile, 31 states have decided that a child within one or two months of birth, as Conner was, should be protected — except from doctors.

Published in Editorials on November 18, 2004 12:05 PM