Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Abortion and Murder, Comment from Chris Green

I've been out of pocket for several days, and still am to a degree, but I wanted to be sure to post this comment that Chris Green sent me in response to my response to his comment (!) to Rick.  I don't have anything to say at the moment, but I hope to be able to give my take on it shortly:

You ask, "[I]s there any example from the law of homicide where a person is, by virtue of the identity of the victim , presumed to be entitled to such an excuse?" My suggestion isn't that the mother is entitled to an excuse because of the nature of the victim--my suggestion is that the mother might reasonably be seen to be entitled to an excuse because of her relationship to the victim (to wit, the fact that the victim is embeded within her body, a fact of Thomson-violinist-style moral relevance). My point is that the abortionist is not entitled to an excuse , even though the victim is the same. As someone pointed out in the Prawfs <http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2008/10/abortion crimina.html thread, punishing assistance to attempted suicide, but not attempted suicide itself, is an example where the relationship of someone to the victim (in that case, identity) counts for an excuse.  In general there is a "victims can't be accomplices" rule. See, e.g., Model Penal Code sec. 2.06(6) ("a person is not an accomplice in an  offense committed by another person if ... he is a victim of that offense"); for one recent case, see


v. Hedlund, 155 P.3d 149 (Wash App. 2007) (DUI).


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