Abortion or Homicide? The Schizophrenic Logic for Killing a Child

By Nancy Flory Published on October 31, 2018

It was, the court said, attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Maniskumar Patel had slipped a drug into his girlfriend’s drink. She suspected that he had spiked the drink and had it tested. When it came back positive for a dangerous drug, he was charged.

What makes this case unusual? He wasn’t trying to kill his girlfriend. The drug was the abortion-inducing RU 486. He was trying to kill their unborn child. The court sentenced him to 22 years in prison. It could have given him 60.

And his girlfriend? She was only a few weeks pregnant. She ended up miscarrying shortly after Patel was charged.

What makes this case significant? The DA charged him with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. If his girlfriend had taken the drug herself, the state would defend her right to do so. It might even pay for the drug. How does this make sense?

Why the Contradiction?

Wisconsin state law defines an unborn child as “a human being from the time of conception until it is born alive.” What happens when someone murders one of those unborn children?

The law states that “any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony.” He may be punished with a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to 6 years, or both. The law also says that “Any person, other than the mother, 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 a Class E felony. That’s an even worse crime. He may be punished with a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisoned for up to 15 years, or both.

The state charged Patel with seven felonies and two misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 22 years as part of a plea agreement.

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However, the statute goes on to say that the restriction doesn’t apply to “therapeutic abortion” — even though it considers the aborted child a human being. If Patel’s girlfriend had willingly taken the abortifacient drug, state law would have protected her. Since it was the father who tried to kill his unborn child, he was charged with attempted homicide. This does not make sense

The conflicting laws on the killing of an unborn child boggle the mind. Father goes to jail. The mother gets to do what she wants. How can a child be a human being protected by the law when the father kills him and a human being not protected by the law when the mother kills him? Who gets to say whether a child is valuable or not? How does this make sense?

The Value of Unborn Children

According to Dr. Grazie Pozo Christi, the Wisconsin case highlights the different laws applied when men and women kill their unborn child. The radiologist and policy advisor for The Catholic Association explains: “The Wisconsin case is a clear example of the schizophrenia that affects our society when it comes to the value of unborn children. On one hand, abortion is legal, right up through the last day of pregnancy, simply at the wish of the mother. On the other, a man who causes an abortion against the mother’s wish is convicted of murder.”

“Some fetuses,” she continues, “are valued members of society upon whom we lavish every care including intricate fetal surgeries and months-long intensive care. Others are destroyed and their little parts used for research. It’s high time that all unborn children, wanted, or unwanted, be accorded the same protection and respect.”

Have we really gotten to the point where if a child is wanted by the mother, it’s a baby (and an attempt to kill him is murder), but if the child is not wanted by the mother, it’s a legal, state-sanctioned, socially approved abortion? Can’t we see that the outcome is the same? Can’t we see that if we could ask him, the child wouldn’t understand how his father can go to jail but his mother not? 

A child, every child, is wonderfully made. The value of a child does not change simply because the mother wants it or does not want it. Only God — the Creator — can assign human value, and He says we’re all valuable (Matthew 6:26Matthew 12:12Luke 12:24). If every child is valuable in God’s sight, who are mothers or fathers to decide otherwise?

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Newness in Christ
Sarah Freymuth
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