Prosecutor drops abortion charge against alleged murderer after NY abortion law

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The district attorney for Queens County, New York, has reportedly dropped an unlawful abortion charge against a man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, citing a new state law that removed abortion from the criminal code.
Anthony Hobson is accused of killing his girlfriend Jennifer Irigoyen, who was 14 weeks pregnant, Feb. 3. He allegedly dragged her into the stairwell of an apartment building and stabbed her multiple times in the abdomen – she later died in hospital.

Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown announced in a Feb. 8 statement that Hobson would be charged with second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon. He could face 25 years to life in prison.

Brown’s office cited the Reproductive Health Act, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Jan. 22, as the reason for dropping the abortion charge, according to the New York Times. A district attorney spokeswoman told the New York Post that the abortion charge was dropped because it was “repealed by the legislature, and this is the law as it exists today.”

The Reproductive Health Act changed New York law to allow health care professionals such as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to perform abortions, and now permits late-term abortion at any time throughout pregnancy in case of fetal inviability or “when necessary to protect a patient's life or health.”

One of the Democratic sponsors of the RHA, writing in a Times Union op-ed, claimed that physical assault resulting in the loss of pregnancy would now qualify as first-degree assault, which as a class B felony carries a penalty of 5-25 years.

Unlawful abortion, which is now repealed, would have been a class D felony, carrying with it a 2-7 year sentence.

In June 2018 a New York man was charged with attempted murder, abortion, and assault after the attempted murder of his 26-week pregnant fiancée. It is as yet unclear whether the Reproductive Health Act will affect that case.

In a Jan. 28 op-ed for the New York Daily News, Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University in the Bronx and a board member for Democrats for Life of America, predicted that the removal of abortion from the criminal code altogether would eliminate the potential to charge men who attack pregnant women with the crime of killing unborn children.

“Intellectually honest people know that when a pregnant woman is killed, something different has happened than when a woman who is not pregnant is killed. Both situations are incredibly tragic, but in the former situation, two human beings are killed, not one,” Camosy said.

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