The Oklahoma Legislature is considering a bill that would define unborn children as persons to allow pregnant women to use deadly force to save the lives of their babies.
The bill, titled the "Use of Force For the Protection of the Unborn Act," was co-authored by State Rep. Mike Thompson and was sought by the group Americans United for Life.
"Unfortunately, we feel we need legislation like this," Thompson said to KOCO 5 News. "What we want to make sure is that a woman feels safe and secure defending herself and her unborn child against any attacker."
The bill reportedly stems from a Michigan case where a woman who was pregnant with quadruplets stabbed and killed her boyfriend after he hit her in a stomach. She suffered a miscarriage and was convicted of manslaughter.
Oklahoma law at present allows a person to use force to protect himself or another person from someone else. The new bill classifies an unborn child as "another" person, KOCO 5 News reports.
Josh Beasley, an official at the YWCA Oklahoma City, said statistics about abuse of pregnant women are startling.
"Domestic violence is the second-leading cause of death among (pregnant) women nationwide, so it's good they are taking the issue seriously and wanting to do something about it," he told KOCO 5 News.
The bill has passed the State House and Senate with no opposition and is back in the Senate for a final vote. It is expected to pass and go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that someone who defends his or her life is not guilty of murder if he or she is forced to deal a lethal blow to an aggressor. "Legitimate defense" also can be "a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others."
However, the Catechism also warns that self-defense which uses more than necessary violence is "unlawful."