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Why is the death of an unborn child not wrongful death?

| Mar 26, 2018 | Wrongful Death |

Wrongful death is when the negligence of a person or entity causes the death of another person. In New Mexico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there is one group that is not covered by state wrongful death laws: unborn children. Other states have specific laws regarding the death of an unborn child due to the negligence of someone else. These laws allow for punishment, but in New Mexico, no such laws exist. In fact, this is an area of some debate.

The issue is that some groups are concerned a charge of wrongful death of an unborn child could pose risks for abortion rights. Many states have sidestepped the issue to ensure the language in their laws makes it clear abortion is not considered murder or homicide, but some states, like New Mexico, have avoided the topic completely by not creating any laws pertaining to making the death of an unborn child illegal.

On the other side of the debate are women who have lost unborn babies due to violence or negligence and pro-life advocates who argue the unborn child is more than a fetus. It is a living being that lost its right to live through the acts of another. 

Still, some groups argue that beyond the abortion debate, wrongful death for infanticide could easily snowball and lead to other regulations for pregnant women. It could make crimes out of things women do when pregnant, such as smoke or eating unhealthy foods. 

The bottom line is that there is a fine line when it comes to the death of an unborn child, and New Mexico has yet to take a stance. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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