The Unborn Victims of Violence Act stemmed from the abduction and murder of a pregnant woman, Laci Peterson, in California in 2003. The law makes it a crime to kill a fetus in utero at any stage of development while committing another federal crime; it does not require the perpetrator to know the woman was pregnant.
-- From "Fetus law to be used in murder case" The Associated Press, 12/30/08
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Federal prosecutors in New Mexico believe they may be the first to use a 2004 law to charge someone with killing a fetus while causing the death or injury of the mother.
Charges against Frederick Beach, accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend to death, include one under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. U.S. Attorney Greg Fouratt said his office's research found "no other case in the country in which that section (of law) has been charged," the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday.
If convicted, Beach faces life in prison.
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