Prenatal Protection Sentencing Guideline
H.B. 4190 – Rep. Pamela Hornburger
H.B. 4190 was introduced on February 10, 2021 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
H.B. 4190 would codify into law the elements of the Michigan Court of Appeals case People v. Ambrose (2016) which said an unborn child who is injured or killed can be counted as a victim for purposes of criminal sentencing.
Michigan passed the Prenatal Protection Act in 1998 which allows separate charges to be brought when a criminal action against a pregnant woman results in death or injury to her unborn child. In People v. Ambrose, the individual was charged with a violation of the Prenatal Protection Act, but when it came to determining the amount of time he should serve for the crime, the law was nondescript with regard to defining an unborn child as a “victim” of a crime. The judge reasoned that if a separate criminal offense could be lodged against someone for harming or killing an unborn child, then the same unborn child could count as a victim for scoring purposes (determining the length of the jail sentence).
Michigan was one of the first states to enact criminal penalties for harming or killing an unborn child. To date, there are 38 states who criminalize assaultive crimes against unborn children. Sadly, there are still states that don’t.