Roe V. Laci

Article excerpt

Was Laci Peterson a victim of domestic violence? Some advocates were upset she was not cast as one, while other observers noted that there was no evidence that Scott Peterson had abused his wife priorto killing her, and that not all homicides between intimates are a result of the same pathologies that cause domestic violence. Still, one-third of pregnant women who die are murdered-making homicide second only to traffic accidents as a cause of death for expectant mot hers. The reasons aren't entirely understood, but experts point to the economic and emotional stress associated with expecting a child. Whatever the reasons, 40 percent of the time battering begins during a woman's first pregnancy, and 324,000 pregnant women are battered each year. New mothers remain at heightened risk, particularly if they're young; one study found that 26 percent of new mothers under 18 experienced partner violence in the first three months after they gave birth.

The homicides are probably underestimated. As of 2002, only 17 states noted pregnancy status on death certificates, and CDC and FBI homicide statistics didn't capture the data either. …