FETAL PROTECTION LAW: PA Defendant Cleared in First Test
The first person tried under Pennsylvania's Crimes Against Unborn Children Act has been found innocent on all counts this week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The fetal protection law, signed last October by Gov. Tom Ridge (R), stiffened the state's murder, manslaughter and aggravated-assault statutes for "individuals who assault pregnant women and injure or kill their fetuses." Pearl Harris, a 44-year-old Pennsylvania woman, was accused of threatening Tonya Cutler with a metal pipe, struck her and kicked her four times while she was bent over from the force of the blow. Cutler, who was seven months pregnant, was taken to the hospital, where physicians performed a cesarean to deliver her premature daughter. During the trial, Cutler's obstetrician testified that Culter was asthmatic and regularly used alcohol during her pregnancy, both of which could have caused the premature delivery (McKinnon, 10/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.