The Florida legislature also recently passed the “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act” during its legislative session of 2013-2014. This act is unique in the sense that it creates an entire new criminal offense for acts against women, who have an unborn child inside of them. In short it provides a separate offense if a criminal act results in the injury to the unborn fetus or death of the same. The separate offense is essentially the same offense, which the victim is listed as being the victim of, but now a second victim is essentially added, which is the unborn child.
It’s also worth noting, that unlike battery on a pregnant female, which is a felony solely based on the status of the victim being pregnant, this Statute does not require that the defendant know the victim was pregnant or that the defendant intended to cause harm to the unborn victim. It simply is enough that the victim has an unborn child in her womb. It’s also worth noting that the death penalty may not be imposed for violations under this Act. It does specifically state that the death penalty cannot be assessed solely based on the death of the unborn child, it obviously could be imposed for the death of the mother.
The Florida Legislature likely passed this act in response to the well-publicized Tampa federal case where the son of a pharmacist gave his live-in girlfriend medication causing her to have an abortion. Obviously, she did not know the effects of the medication, she was provided. Ultimately, the unborn child was in fact aborted and killed. The case was prosecuted in the Middle District of Florida, a Federal court. Many politicians and members of the media were extremely frustrated that it did not appear that Florida acted strongly enough to protect unborn victims. This act appears to be the Florida Legislature’s response to this case and other cases similar cases.
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