Scott Peterson Trial and Sentence Gave Massive Exposure to Humanity of Unborn Child (12/04)

The massively publicized trial of Californian Scott Peterson for the double murder of his pregnant wife Laci and unborn son Connor ended with the jury’s recommended sentence of death by injection for the convicted murderer. Setting aside arguments over the death penalty, the case itself gave extraordinary public exposure to the reality of the humanity of the unborn child, who in this case was Connor Peterson. Fox News began its report on the sentencing with the statement, “the jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his wife and unborn baby…”. “Child, “baby”, “son” were often used by parties in the case to refer to the obviously living, moving and precious to his mother and relatives little Connor. Use of ideological motivated or reality avoidance euphemisms of past decades were harder to justify given the blunt realities of the case. “Fetus”, “product of conception”, “clump of tissue” just didn’t cut it although the media nevertheless still did their best through language manipulation to undermine the humanity of Connor Peterson. The charges, conforming to California law, considered that two persons were considered to have been murdered, Laci Peterson and her seven and one-half month gestation unborn child Connor. California’s fetal homicide law of 1970 states: “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” One cause for concern in the judgment is that the jury classified the murder of Connor as one of a less serious degree than that of his mother. However, both were ruled as murders. The death sentence option was available to the jury explicitly because it was determined that two people...