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Pregnant woman had boyfriend punch her in stomach, cops say. It may not be a crime.

Prosecutors are investigating a case in which police allege a pregnant woman had her boyfriend purposely hit her in the stomach to terminate a pregnancy.
Prosecutors are investigating a case in which police allege a pregnant woman had her boyfriend purposely hit her in the stomach to terminate a pregnancy. McClatchy File Photo

She could no longer feel her baby move after being punched in the stomach at least 10 times, according to Bakersfield, California police. The expecting mother was about 30 weeks pregnant when her boyfriend repeatedly hit her, officers said.

Hospital staff saw the bruises upon her arrival in May, police said, according to court documents filed this month. The woman explained that she’d fell while mopping the floor at the restaurant where she worked, the affidavit said. But police questioning led to the truth: she and her boyfriend had discussed the pregnancy, and agreed they didn’t want to have a baby, officers said.

The mother allegedly admitted to having her boyfriend intentionally injure her — a week before delivery — to terminate the pregnancy, documents said.

And the plan worked, according to police. The baby died after the mother gave birth. The infant suffered from a fractured skull and spinal injuries, a search warrant affidavit said. It’s unclear how long the newborn survived.

Police believe the act was a crime, according to court documents. But prosecutors aren’t so sure, reports said.

The Kern County District Attorney’s office is still deciding whether criminal charges will be filed against the parents, KGET reported earlier this week. Deputy District Attorney Gina Pearl told KBAK on Monday the case is “unique.”

"We're actively reviewing it," she said. There's a lot of different angles."

The baby’s father denied hitting his girlfriend and injuring the child, police said, KGET reported. But even if there was a confession, murder charges likely wouldn’t be filed if authorities determined the mother solicited, aided, abetted or consented to the act that led to the fetus death, the news station reported. That’s because California's penal code makes that, among other provisions, an exception to its definition of murder, which is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with “malice aforethought.”

Another exception would be if a licensed physician terminated the pregnancy because it threatened the mother’s life.

The parent’s weren’t identified in the story because they haven’t been charged.

The district attorney’s office didn’t immediately respond to McClatchy’s request for comment Friday.

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