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TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT OF 2006" BY ADDING SECTION 16-3-1083, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO COMMITS A VIOLENT CRIME THAT CAUSES THE DEATH OF, OR INJURY TO, A CHILD IN UTERO IS GUILTY OF A SEPARATE OFFENSE AND THAT THE PERSON MUST BE PUNISHED AS IF THE DEATH OR INJURY OCCURRED TO THE UNBORN CHILD'S MOTHER; TO SPECIFY CERTAIN ELEMENTS THAT ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE PROVEN; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PERSON MUST BE PUNISHED FOR MURDER OR ATTEMPTED MURDER IF THE PERSON INTENTIONALLY KILLED OR ATTEMPTED TO KILL THE UNBORN CHILD; TO PROHIBIT IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR AN OFFENSE PROSECUTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION; AND TO PROHIBIT THE PROSECUTION OF A PERSON FOR CONDUCT RELATED TO AN ABORTION IF PROPER CONSENT WAS OBTAINED AND FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT OF A PREGNANT WOMAN AND TO PROHIBIT PROSECUTION OF A WOMAN WITH RESPECT TO HER UNBORN CHILD.
Whereas, on April 1, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004", also known as "Laci and Conner's Law"; and
Whereas, this federal law establishes a separate criminal offense when the commission of certain federal offenses results in the death or bodily injury to a child in utero at the time the offense occurs; and
Whereas, the federal law pertains only to the establishment of a separate offense for the commission of federal crimes and does not address state crimes resulting in death or injury to a child in utero; and
Whereas, this act, based upon the federal legislation, which was cosponsored by the Honorable Lindsay O. Graham, creates a separate offense when a violent crime, under state law, results in the death or bodily injury to a child in utero; and
Whereas, it is incumbent upon the State of South Carolina to follow this very important precedent set by Congress by enacting the "South Carolina Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2006" in recognition of the tragedy and painful loss that occurs when a child in utero dies or is injured due to violent crime. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the "South Carolina Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2006".
SECTION 2. Article 11, Chapter 3, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 16-3-1083. (A)(1) A person who commits a violent crime, as defined in Section 16-1-60, that causes the death of, or bodily injury to, a child who is in utero at the time that the violent crime was committed, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.
(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the punishment for a separate offense, as provided for in subsection (A)(1), is the same as the punishment provided for that criminal offense had the death or bodily injury occurred to the unborn child's mother.
(b) Prosecution of an offense under this section does not require proof that:
(i) the person committing the violent offense had knowledge or should have had knowledge, that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or
(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.
(c) If the person engaging in the violent offense intentionally killed or attempted to kill the unborn child, that person must, instead of being punished under subsection (A)(2)(a), be punished for murder or attempted murder.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other provision of law, the death penalty must not be imposed for an offense prosecuted under this section.
(B) Nothing in this section may be construed to permit the prosecution:
(1) of a person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
(2) of a person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
(3) of a woman with respect to her unborn child.
(C) As used in this section, the term 'unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term 'child in utero' or 'child who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any state of development, who is carried in the womb."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2:42 P.M.