Thursday, December 30, 2004


Rich Lowry addresses an issue of semantics that had intrigued me since the crime below was first reported:

In a spectacular murder case in Missouri, Lisa Montgomery strangled to death Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant. Ms. Montgomery cut open Mrs. Stinnett's womb and kidnapped her child. This is a horrific crime that, like the Scott Peterson case, opens an uncomfortable window into our culture's tortured reasoning on anything related to unborn life.

...a "fetus" — something for which American law and culture has very little respect — was somehow instantly transformed into a "baby" and "infant" — for which we have the highest respect. By what strange alchemy does that happen?

An AP story effected this magic transition all in one sentence: "Authorities said Montgomery, 36, confessed to strangling Bobbie Jo Stinnett of Skidmore, Mo., on Thursday, cutting out the fetus and taking the baby back to Kansas." At one point, when Ms. Montgomery was still at large, an Amber Alert went out about the Stinnett girl, putting news organizations in the strange position of reporting such an alert for what many of them were still calling a fetus.

The full article is well worth reading, but several questions remain. How did the "fetus" become a "baby"? Was it/she in fact fetusnapped? Is fetusnapping even illegal? Was it merely robbery?

1 comment:

April said...

It seems like it should be similar to being killed and having someone take all your organs.