Man punches pregnant girlfriends's stomach "at least ten times," killing their baby instantly
A baby died May 24 at Kern Medical after being pulled from the womb with a fractured skull, resulting from "beatings" by the father.
Law enforcement authorities are blaming the parents of a stillborn baby who was found to have head fractures upon delivery in Bakersfield, California.
According to the police, on May 24, the mother of the child had asked her boyfriend, who was the father of the baby, to punch her stomach multiple times in order to terminate the pregnancy, reported Bakersfield Now. They said that the father reportedly struck the mother's stomach “ at least 10 times,” until she “stopped feeling the baby move", the newspaper reported, citing a search warrant affidavit that was filed.
The mother, who can't be named due to an ongoing investigation, was 30 weeks pregnant when she arrived at Kern Medical. Hospital authorities found bruises on her stomach that she nonchalantly attributed to "an accident while mopping." The baby girl was delivered with “traumatic injuries…that led to the child’s death", according to doctors at the medical center.
According to a police report, medical staff at the hospital were suspicious of the circumstances leading to the child's death. The mother eventually confessed in an interview about the beating, according to the said report.
As law enforcement authorities investigate whether the act was a crime, the couple in question is currently in a legal soup. Kern County Deputy District Attorney Gina Pearl told Bakersfield Now that the case was being actively reviewed and pursued.
“It’s a unique case,” Pearl said. “We’re still investigating, there’s a lot of different angles.”
That being said, the boyfriend, who has also not been identified, denied having a hand in the death of the infant or in hurting the pregnant woman.
Before any legal action is taken against the couple, the district attorney's office along with the police department is waiting for the coroner's report to confirm the claims. We will update this story as soon as the coroner's report is finished and the district attorney's office is notified.
Murder charges cannot be pursued against the parents as the “act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.” According to the paper, abortion is legal until 24 to 26 weeks in the state of California, but the killing of a fetus with malice aforethought is defined as murder under state law.
Leading advocates on both sides of the political aisle were polled by Eyewitness News, who understood the broad consensus was that this should never have happened.
Executive director for Right to Life Kern County, Marylee Shrider, was stunned to hear the news.
“I wanted to burst into tears,” Shrider told Bakersfield Now. “It’s pretty sickening to read.”
Shrider asserted that a simple visit to a reproductive health professional would have given a range of options for the couple to consider before they recklessly resorted to their method.
“Even if she thought of it, what kind of man would say, ‘Yeah, I’ll punch you in the stomach until the baby is dead?’” said Shrider, maintaining that the father must be held accountable for his actions.
“On moral grounds, grounds of decency, no, there’s no gray areas here,” Shrider added.
On the other hand, Jennifer Bloomquist, of Pro-Choice Kern County, spoke from the other side of the debate, saying there was a huge difference between “safe and legal abortions” and “induced miscarriages.”
“Of course, we don’t want anyone to suffer violence,” Bloomquist said.
But the two advocates turned immediately after that.
According to Pro-Choice Kern County, the case calls for more legal abortions and the educating the masses about it, which is currently lacking, said Bloomquist.
"We can prevent future cases by offering greater access and even funding for abortions," Bloomquist said. "Safe and legal abortions, not induced miscarriages."
Inconsistencies in the law were immediately pointed out by Right to Life Kern County. If an expecting mother is killed in a drunken driving crash or homicide, the government ascribes personhood to the fetus and charges defendants with double murder.
"So the only difference, in this case, is the mother didn't want the baby," Shrider said. "The baby is a human being, or she's not. The fact that she's wanted or not wanted is not relevant. It doesn't make her less human."
While the exact wording of the law may be ambiguous, Shrider hopes that the district attorney slaps murder charges on the couple.
"On moral grounds, grounds of decency, no, there's no gray areas here," she said.
However, Bloomquist does not agree.
"It's a definitely a gray area," she said.
Also, Bloomquist was considerably hesitant to participate in the legal debate spurred by the tragic incident.
When asked about what her stance would be if the district attorney decides to press murder charges against the couple, she conceded.
"If that is what the DA chose to do, I would trust their judgment," Bloomquist said. "We don't have all the facts. And there's no way that I personally can make a call on this case."
Having said that, Pro-Choice Kern County and Right to Life Kern County are yet to respond to requests for further comment.