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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 9 - Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child

The crime of murder is not confined to simply full-grown humans; charges can also be brought if the victim was an unborn child, or any human in the stage between fertilization and birth. For this crime, the sentence is the same as for first-degree murder, although the death penalty cannot be imposed.

Like first-degree murder, an offender must have had intent to cause death or do great bodily harm, either to the unborn child or the pregnant woman. In order to be convicted, a defendant must have known that the woman was pregnant during the commission of the offense.

There are a number of legal strategies to combat this charge, but consultation with a skilled Illinois criminal defense lawyer is necessary.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been charged with homicide of an unborn child in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 9 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 9

Sec. 9-1.2. Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child.
    (720 ILCS 5/9-1.2)

(a) A person commits the offense of intentional homicide of an unborn child if, in performing acts which cause the death of an unborn child, he without lawful justification:

(1) either intended to cause the death of or do great bodily harm to the pregnant woman or her unborn child or knew that such acts would cause death or great bodily harm to the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

(2) he knew that his acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to the pregnant woman or her unborn child; and

(3) he knew that the woman was pregnant.

(b) For purposes of this Section, (1) "unborn child" shall mean any individual of the human species from fertilization until birth, and (2) "person" shall not include the pregnant woman whose unborn child is killed.

(c) This Section shall not apply to acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during any abortion, as defined in Section 2 of the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, as amended, to which the pregnant woman has consented. This Section shall not apply to acts which were committed pursuant to usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment.

(d) Penalty. The sentence for intentional homicide of an unborn child shall be the same as for first degree murder, except that:

(1) the death penalty may not be imposed;

(2) if the person committed the offense while armed with a firearm, 15 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court;

(3) if, during the commission of the offense, the person personally discharged a firearm, 20 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court;

(4) if, during the commission of the offense, the person personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to another person, 25 years or up to a term of natural life shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court.

(e) The provisions of this Act shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law. (Source: P.A. 91-404, eff. 1-1-00.)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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