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MURDERED 5'?m3f When is abortion murder, when is it not?

JUDGE -- (enters wearing black robe, crosses to bench, pounds 
gavel) This court will come to order. Our first order of 
business is the arraignment of James Edward Johnson. Are the 
attorneys for both parties present?

PROSECUTOR -- (enters carrying briefcase and file folder, 
crosses to bench) Counsel for the prosecution is ready to 
proceed, Your Honor. (hands file folder to Judge) The charge is 
murder in the second degree.

DEFENSE -- (enters opposite carrying briefcase) Defense counsel 
is ready to proceed, Your Honor. But I can save the court a 
great deal of time and embarrassment.

JUDGE -- This is an arraignment, Counselor. You can save your 
summation for the trial.

DEFENSE -- That's my point, Your Honor. There shouldn't even be 
a trial.

JUDGE -- I guess that's what we're here to decide isn't it? (to 
Prosecutor) You got any evidence, Counselor? (pages through 
file)

PROSECUTOR -- It's an open and shut case, Your Honor. The 
defendant's blood alcohol level was .023. In this state a 
fatality caused by a drunk driver is considered to be murder. We 
have witnesses who will testify that the defendant was driving 
the car that struck the victim's car. And we have a dead body. 
We even have a written confession. What more do we need to go to 
trial?

JUDGE -- Good question. (to defense) Counselor, do you wish to 
petition for the exclusion of the confession? No, Your Honor. 
The fact is that the alleged victim in this case was not a 
person, but a fetus.

JUDGE -- Counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- Your Honor, in this state the law does not 
discriminate between a fetus and any other human being. I have 
submitted the appropriate statute with my brief. (points)

JUDGE -- (flips pages, reads) "Section 187. Paragraph A: Murder 
is the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice 
aforethought or reckless disregard." (to defense) Counselor?

DEFENSE -- I hope you appreciate irony, Your Honor, because the 
woman who miscarried in the accident was on her way to my 
client's abortion clinic to have an abortion.

JUDGE -- Your client is an abortionist?

DEFENSE -- To be more precise, my client is a duly licensed 
physician and surgeon specializing in women's reproductive 
health. 

PROSECUTOR -- He's an abortionist.

DEFENSE -- Alright, he's an abortionist. And as far as the law 
is concerned, this accident produced the equivalent of an 
abortion. If Your Honor will read the rest of Statute 187, 
you'll see that there is an exception that applies to my client. 
Exception two. (points)

JUDGE -- (reads) Exceptions. The charge of murder shall not 
apply to the following cases. Let's see... Exception Number 2: 
The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's 
certificate as defined in the Business and Professions Code. 

DEFENSE -- Your Honor, since my client meets these criteria, 
this exception makes it clear that no crime was committed.

JUDGE -- (to Prosecutor) Counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- While it is questionable that the defendant meets 
the qualifications for exception number two, there is no doubt 
that this accident fails to meet exceptions one and three.

JUDGE -- (reads) Exception number one. The act complied with the 
Therapeutic Abortion Act, Chapter 11 of Division 20 of the 
Health and Safety Code. 

PROSECUTOR -- I hardly think that being broadsided by a Mercedes 
Benz qualifies as a therapeutic abortion. But read exception 
number three, Your Honor.

JUDGE -- (reads) Exception number three. The act was solicited, 
aided and abetted and consented to by the mother of the fetus.

PROSECUTOR -- Does defense counsel have a signed consent form 
authorizing the miscarriage?

DEFENSE -- Your Honor, the woman in question was on her way to 
have an abortion. She will testify to the fact in court.

PROSECUTOR -- It's amazing what a $300,000 insurance settlement 
will buy.

JUDGE -- Counselor!

PROSECUTOR -- I'm sorry, Your Honor. But it really doesn't make 
any difference what the woman will testify to. Many women who 
intend to have an abortion have a change of heart when they 
realize that the "mass of tissue" in their wombs is really a 
baby with arms and legs, fingers and toes, a brain and a heart. 
The fact is that the defendant deprived the woman of the 
opportunity to change her mind. And now a baby is dead. We ask 
that the court bind the defendant for trial and we recommend a 
bail of $100,000.

JUDGE -- (long pause) I'm looking at this statute in amazement. 
The question of law is not whether the fetus is a person or not. 
Clearly, according to the law, it is a person. And if you murder 
this tiny person, your penalty is jail. What amazes me about the 
law is what constitutes murder. And what constitutes murder 
comes down to only one question: does the mother want the baby 
or not? In other words, this tiny human being may legally lose 
its life without penalty to the killer if the mother doesn't 
want it and for no other reason. We'll never know if the woman 
in this case would have changed her mind. But at the time of the 
death of the baby, the mother didn't want it. And therefore, by 
law, no crime was committed. A murderer must go free. (pounds 
gavel) Case dismissed. This court is adjourned while I go to my 
chambers and cry.

(all exit)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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