JACKSONVILLE -- The recent murdered Marine case has raised questions about North Carolina laws regarding the death of a fetus. Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean faces charges for the murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, but not of her unborn baby. Currently there are no fetal homicide laws in North Carolina. Representative Carolyn Justice (R-16th) is among the state lawmakers who think Lauterbach's killer should be charged with two murders - hers and her child's. Rep. Justice said, "This baby very probably would have lived if she had delivered. so he in essence did kill two people." Justice supports an unborn victims of violence bill that didn't make it to the general assembly in 2007. It's a bill State Senator Julia Boseman Opposes. Boseman said, "First-degree murder is going to give him life imprisonment or the death penalty. They're going to go away forever or die and adding another charge to it is not going to make them die twice or spend two lives in prison." Justice said people get reduced sentences too often and a fetal homicide bill would help prevent that. "Many of us felt that if you also could be convicted or tried for the death of the fetus, that you would probably get a guarantee that these people would serve some serious time," she said. Gubernatorial candidate Bill Graham said if he is elected, he will aggressively pursue a fetal homicide bill. Senator Boseman said she thinks it's a way for pro-life candidates, like graham, to make headlines. She said, "This is looked at as a back door way of going in and taking away a woman's right to choose and right now the general assembly supports a woman's right to choose, many of us do and given the makeup I don't think a bill like that would have any chance right now." Justice said the bill she supports isn't about abortion and it's about serving justice in cases similar to that of Maria Lauterbach. In 2004 President Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act into law. Under federal law, any person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb can be charged with a separate offense, in addition to any charges relating to the mother. At least 35 states recognize the unborn child as a crime victim in some circumstances.
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