This Fox News headline struck me as possibly the latest effort to establish personhood for a fetus: “Woman Accused of Killing Mom, Fetus Pleads Insanity.” Once you open up the story from the main page, it does not improve much with Wisconsin Woman Accused of Killing Mom and Fetus Pleads Insanity.
This headline suggests that women is accused of killing a woman but the fetus is trying to avoid culpability entirely.
If I were the fetal defense attorney, I would argue a prenatal irresistible impulse defense but, as noted in earlier columns, the states have cut back on the defense as a whole. What should be clear is that, even under the more restrictive modern tests, a fetus could not distinguish between right and wrong. Yet, the scourge of insane fetuses could play badly with a jury. They are already known to live off their mothers, refused to move out, and decline gainful employment. Yet, this could be simply laying the groundwork for the next Fox series “When Fetuses Attack.”
Fox might want to redo the headline. The case is clearly disturbing enough without adding a fetal insanity angle.