Manslaughter of “Quick” Child

P.A. 328 of 1931
M.C.L. 750.322-23
See Section 32 of Ch. 153 of R.S. 1846
Current Status
Effective Date: September 18, 1931

A form of this law has been on the Michigan law books since 1846. This law makes willful killing of an unborn “quick” child a manslaughter crime, whether accomplished by injuring the mother, andministering drugs to her, or using an instrument. This law is based on a legal tradition that once the mother felt the “quickening” (movement) of the child in the womb, a more stringent penalty for harm to that child could be rendered.

In the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, this statute has been held to define “quick” to mean “post-viable.” Thus, once a child can survive outside the womb, an action to cause the child’s death would be manslaughter (abortion for “life or health of the mother” excluded; health including emotional, mental, financial, etc.)