Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) has filed a bill essentially allowing a pregnant woman to use the same sort of physical force defending her unborn baby as she could herself or one of her other children.

SB170 acknowledges that pregnant women are often the victims of assault or abuse, and specifies that a pregnant woman can use force to defend her unborn baby from an attack.

In the past people have wondered why this kind of legislation is necessary, but in October of 1999 Jaclyn Kurr of Michigan was sent to prison for using deadly force against her then-boyfriend after he punched her in the stomach. The punch caused her to miscarry, losing the quadruplets with which she was pregnant. Kurr was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds that her unborn children were not, in the judge’s words, “a living human being existing independent” of their mother, and therefore Kurr had no right to use force defending them.

A higher court later overturned the ruling, but not until after Kurr had already spent two years in prison.

SB170 would help ensure no pregnant woman in Arkansas faces a similar situation.