December 18, 2009

Commonwealth, but not for everyone


am a proud Virginian. I love the history of this state. I love the scenery. I love the rich heritage. But while Virginia is first in my heart in many ways, THIS first is a terrible thing. Virginia is the first state I have heard of that has laws on the books allowing for active infanticide!

On December 11th, in Rustburg, Virginia, police responded to a call that a woman was in labor. According to this news story from the Lynchburg News & Advance:

They said the baby was under bedding and had been suffocated by her mother. Investigators said because the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord and placenta, state law does not consider the baby to be a separate life. Therefore, the mother cannot be charged.

When I was in college, almost 30 years ago, I read a book titled A Reasonable Proposition. This book was a fictional book about what a person might propose after becoming comfortable with decriminalized abortion. It was a theory about where the so-called “slippery slide” might eventually take us. It included decriminalized infanticide. At the time, I thought the author was really going a good bit over the top in his theorizing. Apparently not.

The News & Advance article goes on to say:

Investigators said the baby’s father was upset when he showed up at the home after deputies.

“He was very upset. I think the grandparents were upset. I believe everyone was upset, except for the person who should have been upset, the mother,” said Emerson.

This is a shameful day for the Commonwealth of Virginia.



  1. Thanks for posting this, Rich.

    Some people (you saw Step2 at What's Wrong with the World) are trying to say that Virginia's partial-birth abortion law covers situations like this, but I don't believe the investigator in the situation is simply making this up. He obviously has something very specific in mind in the law and something that has not been changed.

    The one piece of good news is that the governor has sent out word that he's ready to sign legislation on a fast track to make it possible to prosecute in situations like this. I hope the congressmen get right on it after Christmas!

  2. It sounds to me from the articles that this case is at a very local level right now and the Campbell County police have chosen to not press charges as a result of the previous similar infanticide case that was thrown out.

    It's very easy for us to place the blame on the liberal politicians and judges and on the police investigators, but having lived in Lynchburg I would say that a huge portion of the blame rests squarely on the churches in the area. The churches in the Lynchburg area are not engaging the enemy in any way. They are not evangelizing the lost, they are not comforting the childless and orphans, they are not feeding or clothing the hungry and naked, and they are not presenting the gospel to the poor. They are playing church, with each church trying in its own way to become as big and as perceptually important as Thomas Road Baptist Church was under Jerry Falwell. They have lost the vision of the Great Commission and the community is suffering for it.

    I really believe that this would have been considered a crime and prosecuted in most other areas in Virginia. Perhaps it would have been thrown out due to that law, but when the police department doesn't even choose to prosecute there's not much else that can be done. Local area churches promoting the sanctity of life might have been an encouragement to the police department to do their duty rather than shirking it.

  3. Did the news articles say who called for help or who else may have been present?

  4. Yes - the grandmother of the baby called the police 10 hours after the baby had been born. She would have been charged, according to the police, had she known what was going on when it happened, but apparently she didn't find out until after the child was killed.

    They mentioned a few others there at the house (other relatives), but apparently none of them were in the home when the child was born.


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