Thursday, December 29, 2011
The Salt Lake Tribune (12/15): Utah teen may face criminal charges in abortion beating case, by Melinda Rogers:
A 17-year-old pregnant girl who hired a man to punch her belly may again face criminal penalties following a Tuesday ruling by the Utah Supreme Court that the beating does not fall within the statutory definition of abortion.
A juvenile court judge dismissed the case in 2009, finding that the girl couldn’t be held criminally liable for the failed attempt to abort her unborn child — but the high court reversed that decision.
"The Utah Code’s definition of abortion contemplates only procedures that are medical in nature," the high court wrote in a unanimous decision. "We hold that the solicited assault of a woman to terminate her pregnancy is not a ‘procedure,’ as contemplated by statute, and therefore does not constitute an abortion."
During a hearing before the high court in April, Assistant Utah Attorney General Chris Ballard argued that when lawmakers exempted women from criminal prosecution for murder when seeking an abortion, they envisioned women would seek abortions in a "safe, humane" manner through typical medical procedures. . . .