Prenatal Protection Sentencing Guideline
H.B. 4085 – Rep. Pamela Hornburger
H.B. 4085 was introduced on January 29, 2019 and was referred to the House Judiciary committee. This is a reintroduction of a bill that wasn’t passed by the Legislature last term.
H.B. 4085 is a technical bill that will codify that an embryo or a fetus will be considered a victim for the purposes of determining sentencing for a crime which involved a pregnant woman.
The Prenatal Protection Act has been in place since 1998. It states that it is a crime to intentionally or unintentionally harm an unborn embryo or fetus except by actions taken by the mother or her doctor. It includes charges for the death of a pregnant woman which results in the death of her unborn child as well as causing a stillbirth or miscarriage of an unborn child through criminal or negligent actions. H.B. 4085 simply places into statue the ruling found in the case of People v. Ambrose (Mich COA 2016) by declaring that for sentencing purposes, an embryo or fetus may be considered a person when determining the number of victims of a crime.
There have been a number of egregious cases that have led to the need to place legal protections over the unborn child when they are the victim of crimes. Those crimes can range from involuntary vehicular manslaughter when a drunk driver hits a pregnant woman and causes a miscarriage, to assault with a deadly weapon in an attempt to cause a pregnant woman to miscarry. In some states, there is no legal protection for unborn victims of crimes.