Pro-Lifers Pleased by Peterson Conviction, but Some See Paradox in Verdict

Pro-life advocates are applauding the conviction of Scott Peterson for the murder of his pregnant wife and their unborn son in December 2002. But at least two pro-life groups see hypocrisy in how the case was handled under the laws of the State of California.

It was the first high-profile case since the April 2004 passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the length of the trial — it lasted more than five months — as well as its potential impact on the country, attracted extensive media coverage from around the globe. Scott Peterson, a California fertilizer salesman, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder in the death of his 27-year-old wife, Laci, and second-degree murder in the death of their child, Connor. Laci was eight months pregnant at the time. Peterson was charged and arrested in April 2003; the trial began in June 2004.

Pro-life groups watched the proceedings of the Peterson case with interest, both before and during the trial, because the victim had been pregnant. The implications under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act — also known as “Laci and Connor's Law” — were obvious: the life of an unborn person had been taken in a violent act. Now those groups are reacting to Peterson's conviction.

A bioethics analyst with Focus on the Family says the double-murder conviction indicates a change in philosophies about when life begins. Peterson's conviction, says Carrie Gordon Earll, “is further evidence of the growing shift in US law regarding protection for all human life, including young humans who still reside in their mother's womb.”

“During the course of the Peterson trial,” Earll notes, “hundreds of media reports referred to Connor as the Peterson's 'unborn child.' This language confirms what we believe to be a move toward embracing all members of the human family — from fertilization to natural death.”

The Focus on the Family spokeswoman also is hopeful the verdict will affirm a different type of choice not usually highlighted by a typically pro-abortion media: a woman's “legal right to choose to be pregnant and have her pre-born children protected under the law.”

Randy Thomasson of Campaign for California Families sees the Peterson trial as one that put the unborn child “on the map.” He says he thanks God for California's fetal homicide law — but still feels the jury should have delivered a first-degree murder conviction in Connor's death.

“Connor's life was worth as much as Laci's,” Thomasson says. “A person is a person, no matter how small.”

Like Thomasson, a San Diego pro-life group is applauding the double-murder conviction. But that group — Biblical Family Advocates — sees it as “thoroughly hypocritical” for the State of California to prosecute Peterson, but not those who perform abortions.

Phil Magnan, executive director for Biblical Family Advocates, points out that the state — in the name of affirming a woman's choice — funds the killing of 120,000 unborn children every year; but at the same time, can charge an assailant with murder if an unborn child is killed during the commission of a crime.

“The State is basically saying if you want this child, they [sic] are human and we will prosecute anyone who kills this child you wanted,” Magnan states in a press release. “But if you do not want this child, we will kill it for you. What a gross miscarriage of justice.”

Judie Brown of American Life League echoes similar feelings. Brown says it is a good thing that Peterson was held accountable for the crimes he committed. The verdict in this “landmark conviction,” she says, makes it “crystal clear that [Connor], and all those who reside in the womb, are indeed human persons — not possessions.”

But Brown's group was one of the few pro-life groups not to line up behind the Unborn Victims of Violence Act because it contains a specific exemption for abortion. “UVVA is flawed,” she says. “It perpetuates the lie that some pre-born babies' rights are worth defending and others' are not.”

The ALL president explains that if Laci Peterson had aborted Connor, the abortion would not have been defined as a crime. She reminds the nation that thousands of unborn babies are killed legally every day by abortion — babies whose rights to life are not protected under the UVVA.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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