Consider three true statements regarding the legal situation in the United States:
- In 35 states, killing a fetus is considered murder.
- In federal crimes, killing a fetus is considered murder.
- In 50 states, killing a fetus is not a crime.
How can all of these statements be true? The answer is in this question: “Who is the person doing the killing?” If the mother of the fetus requested that an abortion provider kill her fetus, it is not a crime in any of the 50 states. If the father of the fetus, or anyone else, kills the fetus without the woman’s consent, the charge can be as severe as murder….
It appears, then, that … the mother’s opinion of the fetus changes what the fetus is. If the mother doesn’t want the fetus and chooses to kill the fetus, it is a tissue mass destined to become medical waste. If the mother wants the fetus, and the fetus is killed, the fetus is a human being whose homicide is punished like the homicide of born children. This position, however incredible it seems, is precisely the legal situation in much of the United States.
— Stephen Wagner, from Common Ground Without Compromise, p. 42