A set of national pro-life groups sent a letter on Thursday to the prosecutor in the Ariel Castro case, supporting her intention to charge Castro with murder for ending the pregnancies of the women he held captive in his Cleveland home.
“We believe that whether a child is in utero or ‘born alive’ – whether we call it fetal homicide or infanticide – it is a criminal action to take an innocent human being’s life,” Pro-life attorney Samuel Casey told LifeNews.com in an interview.
Castro reportedly impregnated Michelle Knight, one of his three kidnapping victims, five times during the ten years of captivity, then starved her for two weeks and repeatedly punched her in the stomach, causing her to miscarry.
Similar to 37 other states, Ohio has had a law that reads: “No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.”
Murder charges can be brought against someone who causes a miscarriage, or murdering a pregnant woman will recognize two victims to the crime. However, women can still have an abortion without it being considered murder, since it is not considered “unlawful.”
Pro-choice groups have supported the law in terms of the mother’s choice: ending a pregnancy against the mother’s will take away her choice to have the child, according to The Christian Post.
“The mother’s consent (particularly when it is coerced or uninformed) should make no difference to the existence of the crime being committed,” said Casey. “Whether the apparent motive is a commercial one (as in Kermit Gosnell’s case) or sexual abuse (as in Castro’s case), it should be just a criminal for a health care provider or a sexual deviant to kill a baby born or preborn because pregnancy is not a disease and induced abortion is never health care.”
Writing for Slate, a liberal publication, Emily Bazelon argued that Castro should not be tried for murder because she views it a proxy for obtaining a tougher sentence (the death penalty) for Castro's other crimes.
"I still think, though, that there would be something very strange about executing Castro for the harm he did to fetuses, as opposed to the harm he did to three living and breathing women. Maybe that seems like a legal nicety. But in this case the aggravated murder charge is really a proxy for condemning the years of rape and captivity Castro inflicted. And that makes me wary of it," she wrote.