How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Michelle Your Own Question
Michelle, Elected/Appointed Official
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4136
Experience:  30 + yrs in the legal profession incl. criminal, family, politics, legislator judiciary 6 yrs
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Michelle is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is a fetus considered a human being during a pregnancy

Resolved Question:

Is a fetus considered a human being during a pregnancy or not until birth? If at birth, how are laws made to bring charges when a fetus is killed within the mothers womb?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Michelle replied 9 years ago.


"Viabilty" is the term given for when the government will recognize that a fetus is now a human being. A fetus is defined as being viable if it has the ability to "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb [that is, can survive], albeit with artificial help." For the purposes of abortion, the US Supreme Court has determined viability at 24 weeks.

Some states have had laws since 1970 which would allow a court to decide if there should be an additional conviction for the murder of the unborn child. Most-recently states have made it clear with laws that state that regardless of the viability (24 weeks for abortion purposes) if the unborn is killed it would be a homicide - also termed feticide in some states.

With 37 states having such law on the books, there is concern from the abortion advocates that such a wave of new state fetal homicide laws recognizing a fetus "of any gestational age" as a person and potential crime victim could undermine a woman's right to end her pregnancy.

The major concern seems to be that the feticide laws can be used regardless of whether the fetus is at 24 weeks, which is viability and the cut off for abortion in most states. Keeping this in mind, the pro abortion advocates are concerned that if a 3-day fetus is given credibility and standing in a criminal situation then Roe v Wade will be overturned because it makes the statement that the fetus is a human life which is in direct conflict with standards as established.

Pro life advocates and legislators state that there is a distinction and the intent of the laws is not to overrule or rescind Roe - laws specifically exclude abortion from coverage. They argue that they have nothing to do with the woman's decision as to her pregnancy. These laws involve cases where women have chosen to have their children and to carry their children to term, and no one else has a right to end that pregnancy against their will - therefore it is murder.

I hope this is helpful


If my answer has been helpful, please ACCEPT my answer so I get credit for my effort to help you . If I can be of further help, let me know. Appropriate FEEDBACK is appreciated as is a bonus. Thanks ~ Michelle

Michelle and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you