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Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child? Call our experienced military defense lawyers at 1-800-921-8607 for a free consultation.

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Note: This law applies only to Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child offenses allegedly committed on or after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child?

Article 119A Ucmj Injuring Or Killing An Unborn Child Military Defense Attorneys

Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) specifically addresses crimes involving the injury or death of an unborn child. This statute is crucial in protecting the rights of unborn children when a criminal act results in harm or fatality. Understanding this article is essential for anyone involved in or around military legal matters.

Under Article 119a UCMJ, a person can be charged if their actions harm or result in the death of an unborn child during the commission of certain offenses. These underpinning offenses can range from assault to negligent homicide and are not limited to solely direct acts aimed at the unborn child. For example, a physical assault on a pregnant woman that unintentionally harms or kills her unborn child could result in charges under this article. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

Experienced Court Martial Defense Lawyers

Facing charges under Article 119a, UCMJ can have severe implications, including lengthy imprisonment and a dishonorable discharge. Therefore, having a well-versed military defense lawyer by

your side is imperative. Lawyers adept in military law can navigate the intricacies of such cases, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

A seasoned military defense attorney will meticulously review all evidence, leverage their knowledge of military legal procedures, and employ strategic defenses that could mitigate charges or potentially exonerate the accused. They will also offer guidance through the various stages of court-martial, ensuring you are fully informed and adequately represented.

Contact the Military Lawyers at Gonzalez & Waddington

Do not take the matter lightly if you are accused under Article 119a UCMJ. The legal team at Gonzalez & Waddington understands the gravity of these charges and is prepared to offer comprehensive legal support. Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

What are the Elements of Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused was engaged in the [(murder) (voluntary manslaughter) (involuntary manslaughter) (rape) (robbery) (maiming) (assault), of (state name of the alleged pregnant woman)] [burning or setting afire, as arson, of (a dwelling inhabited by) (a structure or property known to be occupied by) (a structure or property belonging to) (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman)];
  2. That (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) was then pregnant; and
  3. That the accused thereby caused

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child?

Maximum Punishment for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • Such punishment, other than death, as the court-martial may direct and consistent with the maximum punishment had the offense been committed upon the unborn child’s mother.
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Dependent on the underlying offense
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • Note: The Military Judge MAY impose a period of confinement less than the jurisdictional maximum period of confinement upon finding specific facts that warrant such a sentence. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Sample Specifications for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

In that SSgt Sally Watkins, US Air Force, did at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on or about 29 April 2025, cause the death of the unborn child of a pregnant woman, by engaging in the murder of Hanna Klein.

Model Specifications for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

In that __________(personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board–location), (subject matter jurisdiction data, if required), on or about _________ 20___, cause the death of the unborn child of a pregnant woman, by engaging in the [(murder) (voluntary manslaughter) (involuntary manslaughter) (rape) (robbery) (maiming) (assault) of] [(burning) (setting afire) of (a dwelling inhabited by) (a structure or property known to (be occupied by) (belong to))] that woman.

What are the Definitions for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child?

A “pregnant woman” is a female of any age who is carrying within her body an unborn child.

The term “unborn child” means a child in utero (or a member of the species Homo Sapiens who is carried in the womb), at any stage of development, from conception to birth.

Instructing on the Elements of Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

The members must be instructed on the elements of the alleged enumerated offense listed in Article 119a(b) (i.e., murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, maiming, assault, or arson) the accused was engaged in, which was the proximate cause of the death of the unborn child.

Suppose the evidence of the alleged enumerated offense also raises a lesser included enumerated offense. In that case, the panel must also be advised accordingly (using the optional instruction below), and the Findings Worksheet in Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child case must permit findings by exceptions and substitutions.

The accused may be found guilty of killing an unborn child only if, in addition to all the other elements of the offense, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused engaged in the offense of (state the offense alleged), which has the following elements: (state here the elements of the underlying offense alleged).

Proof that the accused had an intent to injure or kill the unborn child or even had actual knowledge that (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) was pregnant at the time the offense was committed is not required.

The government has charged that the accused killed the unborn child of (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) while engaged in the offense of (state the offense alleged).

Reasonable Doubt in an Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child Case

Suppose you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of all the elements of the charged offense, except that the accused was engaged in the offense of (state the offense alleged). In that case, you may still find the accused guilty, if you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused killed the unborn child while engaged in the offense of (state the lesser included offense raised that is also an enumerated offense) a lesser included offense of (state the offense alleged).

State the lesser included enumerated offense raised) has the following elements: (state here the elements of the lesser included enumerated offense). In this event you must make appropriate findings by excepting the word(s) “(state the offense alleged)” and substituting the word(s) “(state the lesser included enumerated offense).”)

Causation and Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

In Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child cases, when the issue of causation between the alleged enumerated offense and death of the unborn child is an issue, give the following general instruction, followed by Instruction 5-19, tailored as appropriate.

The specification in this case alleges that the death of the unborn child occurred as a result of the accused committing the offense of (state the offense alleged). You may find the accused guilty of killing the unborn child only if you find that the acts of the accused while engaging in that offense (or any lesser included offense as I have described for you) were the proximate cause of the death of the unborn child.

Special defense in Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

A special defense of consent to an abortion or death/injury occurring in the course of medical treatment may reasonably be raised. If applicable, the following instructions should be given.

An accused may not be convicted of this offense for (his) (her) conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman), or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, had been obtained or for which the law implies such consent.)

Likewise, an accused may not be convicted of this offense for (his) (her) conduct relating to any medical treatment of (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) or her unborn child.) (You have heard evidence that (here the military judge may summarize the evidence related to an abortion of the unborn child allegedly consented to by the pregnant woman or other authorized person acting on her behalf or evidence related to medical treatment for the pregnant woman or the unborn child.

Final Instructions on Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

Unless you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the death of the unborn child (did not result from a lawful abortion consented to by (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) or by someone legally authorized to act on her behalf, ((and) did not result from the accused’s conduct in the course of any medical treatment of (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman) (or) (the unborn child), you must acquit the accused of this offense.)

Overview of Article Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the offenses of injuring or killing an unborn child. This article criminalizes acts of violence that result in harm to or the death of an unborn child, recognizing the unborn as victims separate from their mothers. The law applies when an individual engages in conduct that is already a punishable offense under the UCMJ, such as assault or murder. That conduct results in the injury or death of an unborn child.

Hiring a Military Defense Lawyer for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

It does not require proof that the perpetrator knew the victim was pregnant or intended to harm the unborn child, only that the actions taken led to such harm or death. This provision underscores the military’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring justice for all victims of violence, including unborn children. Penalties for violating Article 119a can be severe and include imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and other punitive measures reflecting the gravity of the offense.

Selecting the Best Military Defense Lawyers for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

The article, however, exempts lawful medical procedures performed by a healthcare professional and actions taken by the pregnant woman herself. It serves as a powerful legal tool to address violent acts that have devastating impacts on families and underscores the importance of safeguarding life at all stages of development within the military justice system.

Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the crime of injuring or killing an unborn child. This provision criminalizes acts that cause death or injury to an unborn child while committing an offense under specified articles of the UCMJ, such as assault, battery, or murder, against the mother. The law recognizes the unborn child as a separate victim and imposes penalties distinct from those related to the harm caused to the mother. This statute is crucial in protecting the rights of unborn children and ensuring justice for their wrongful harm or death.

Military Defense Lawyers for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

Facing charges under Article 119a is a serious matter with severe consequences, including lengthy imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and loss of military benefits. The complexities of military law and the specific nuances of Article 119a necessitate expert legal representation. Hiring an experienced military defense lawyer is essential for anyone accused under this article. A seasoned lawyer with a deep understanding of the UCMJ can provide a robust defense, ensuring that the accused’s rights are protected throughout the legal process.

An experienced military defense lawyer can meticulously examine the evidence, identify any procedural errors, and develop a strategic defense tailored to the unique aspects of the case. They can challenge the prosecution’s claims, cross-examine witnesses effectively, and present mitigating factors that may reduce the severity of the penalties. Furthermore, a skilled lawyer can navigate the military justice system’s complexities, which differ significantly from civilian courts, offering the accused the best possible chance for a favorable outcome.

Court Martial Attorneys for Article 119a UCMJ Injuring or Killing an Unborn Child

In conclusion, being accused under Article 119a UCMJ for injuring or killing an unborn child is a grave situation that requires professional legal expertise. An experienced military defense lawyer can provide the necessary support and defense strategy to ensure that justice is served and the accused’s rights are upheld.

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