Bill To Modify The Unborn Child Victim Law in Arkansas

SB417 was filed by Sen Jim Hendren (R) on February 20th, 2013SB417: “To Modify The Definition Of An Unborn Child In The Criminal Code And In Wrongful Death Actions.”

On 3/6/2013, The bill was returned to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, with the recommendation that it Do Pass.

Text of the bill:

SECTION 1. Arkansas Code § 5-1-102(13), concerning the definition of “person” in the criminal code, is amended to read as follows:
(13)(A) “Person”, “actor”, “defendant”, “he”, “she”, “her”, or “him” includes:
(i) Any natural person; and
(ii) When appropriate, an “organization” as defined in § 5-2-501.
(B)(i)(a) As used in §§ 5-10-101 — 5-10-105, “person” also includes an unborn child in utero at any stage of development.
(b) “Unborn child” means offspring of human beings from conception until birth.

SECTION 2. Arkansas Code § 16-62-102(a), concerning survival of wrongful death actions, is amended to read as follows:
(a)(1) Whenever the death of a person or an unborn child as defined in § 5-1-102 is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default and the act, neglect, or default would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof if death had not ensued, then and in every such case, the person or company or corporation that would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person or the unborn child as defined in § 5-1-102 injured, and although the death may have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to a felony.

(2) The cause of action created in this subsection shall survive the death of the person wrongfully causing the death of another and may be brought, maintained, or revived against the personal representatives of the person wrongfully causing the death of another.
(3) A person is not liable under this subsection when the death of the unborn child results from a legal abortion or from the fault of the pregnant woman carrying the unborn child.”


Here’s where Arkansas is listed on the National Right to Life Committee’s website:

Partial-Coverage Unborn Victim States 
(States with Homicide Laws That Recognize Unborn Children as Victims, But only During Part of the Period of Pre-natal Development)

NOTE: These laws are gravely deficient because they do not recognize unborn children as victims during certain periods of their pre-natal development. Nevertheless, they are described here for informational purposes.

Arkansas:  “The killing of an “unborn child” of twelve weeks or greater gestation is capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-1-102(13)(b)(i)(a), read with Ark. Stat. Ann. §§ 5-10-101 to 5-10-105. (A separate Arkansas law makes it a battery to cause injury to a woman during a Class A misdemeanor to cause her to undergo a miscarriage or stillbirth, or to cause injury under conditions manifesting extreme indifference to human life and that results in a miscarriage or stillbirth. Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-13-201 (a)(5)(a)).”


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