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Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally 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 Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child offenses allegedly committed on or after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child?

Article 119A Ucmj Intentionally Killing An Unborn Child Military Defense Attorneys

Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the serious crime of intentionally killing an unborn child. This statute provides specific legal provisions to protect unborn children and holds individuals accountable for criminal actions that result in the death of a fetus. Any member of the Armed Forces who is found to have caused the death of an unborn child through a willful act can face severe legal consequences under military law.

According to Article 119a, the crime of intentionally killing an unborn child is not limited to physical violence inflicted upon the mother. It can encompass any purposeful and wrongful conduct that results in the termination of a pregnancy. The severity of the penalties under this article reflects the military’s strict stance on protecting potential life within its ranks. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

For servicemembers accused or suspected of violating Article 119a, the situation can be overwhelming and fraught with legal complexities. It is important to understand the gravity of these charges and their serious

repercussions, including court-martial, imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and more.

Speak with Our Court Martial Lawyers to Discuss Your Options

Given the serious nature of charges under Article 119a UCMJ, having a proficient military defense lawyer becomes crucial. Defense attorneys who are well-versed in military law play a key role in navigating the intricacies of the UCMJ and ensuring a fair trial. They evaluate the circumstances surrounding the accusation, scrutinize evidence, and develop a robust defense strategy to protect the accused’s rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

At Gonzalez & Waddington, we understand the challenges faced by military personnel embroiled in criminal cases, especially those as grave as intentionally killing an unborn child. If you or someone you know is facing such allegations, seeking experienced legal assistance is essential to ensure your case is handled with the diligence and seriousness it warrants.

What are the Elements of Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally 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 the 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 intentionally killed the unborn child of (state the name of the alleged pregnant woman).

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

Maximum Punishment for Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally 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 Intentionally 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 Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child

In that PFC Skippy John, US Army, did at Fort Cavazos, Texas, on or about 21 August 2025, intentionally kill the unborn child of a pregnant woman, Stephanie Summers, by engaging in the burning of a dwelling inhabited by Stephanie Summers.

Model Specifications for Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child

In that __________(personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board–location), (subject matter jurisdiction data, if required), on or about _________ 20___, intentionally kill 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 Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child?

The killing of an unborn child is unlawful when done without legal justification or excuse.

“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.

An “intentional” killing means the accused specifically intended the death of the unborn child. The intent to kill may be proved by circumstantial evidence, that is, by facts or circumstances from which you may reasonably infer the existence of such an intent.

Thus, you may infer that a person intends the natural and probable results of an act (he) (she) purposely does. Therefore, if a person does an intentional act that is likely to result in death, it may be inferred that (he) (she) intended to inflict death. The drawing of this inference, however, is not required.

Nore in Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child case

The members must be instructed on the elements of the alleged enumerated offense listed in Article 119a(b) (i.e., murder, voluntary manslaughter, 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 must permit findings by exceptions and substitutions.

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

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

If 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), you may still find the accused guilty, if you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally 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).”

Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child Special defense

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 instruction 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 such consent is implied by law.)

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 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.

Unless you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the death of the unborn child (did not result from an 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 may not convict the accused of this offense.)

Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child Other instructions

Instruction 7-3, Circumstantial Evidence (Intent), will ordinarily be applicable.

Overview of Article Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child

Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the crime of intentionally killing an unborn child. This article criminalizes the act of causing the death of an unborn child at any stage of gestation with the specific intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to the fetus.

The provision underscores the protection of unborn children under military law, recognizing their inherent value and rights. The offense is considered extremely serious, reflecting the gravity of intentionally harming a vulnerable and defenseless life.

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

Conviction under Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child can lead to severe penalties, including life imprisonment without parole. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had the intent to kill or cause severe harm to the unborn child, distinguishing this crime from accidental or negligent actions. Defenses against this charge may involve demonstrating the absence of intent or proving that the death of the unborn child was not a direct result of the accused’s actions.

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

This article reflects the military’s stringent stance on acts of violence, particularly those directed at the most vulnerable. By including specific provisions for the protection of unborn children, Article 119a UCMJ Intentionally Killing an Unborn Child reinforces the military’s commitment to upholding moral and ethical standards within its ranks, ensuring that individuals who engage in such egregious conduct are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This legal framework aims to deter intentional acts of violence against unborn children and to deliver justice in cases where such tragic offenses occur.

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