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As Democrats in New York celebrated last month Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, by signing a law expanding abortion rights in the state, anti-abortion campaigners predicted that it would eliminate criminal penalties for violence. ending the pregnancies of women.
The debate resurfaced over the weekend after Richard A. Brown, the Queens Attorney General, cited the Reproductive Health Act as the reason for abandoning the law. Abortion charge against a man who, according to the police, had stabbed his former girlfriend while she was 14 weeks pregnant.
The 48-year-old man, Anthony Hobson, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the attack on Jennifer Irigoyen, 35.
Meris Campbell, spokesman for the prosecutor, said prosecutors had dropped a charge of second-degree abortion after learning that the reproductive health law, signed Jan. 22, removed the crime from the code. State penal. The New York Post article on this decision has sparked the interest of many opponents of abortion.
"Thanks to #RHA, New York pregnant women are in an open season," said Dennis Poust, spokesperson for the New York State Catholic Conference, wrote on Twitter.
But advocates of the law, which decriminalize abortion and place it in public health codes with other medical procedures, claim that this fear is motivated by misinformation. The debate reflected a largely partisan rift over abortion, which could be a key issue in the 2020 elections.
In an editorial jointly published in the Times Union of Albany, United States Senators Liz Krueger, Democrat of Manhattan and senior law sponsor in the Upper House, and Anna Kaplan, Democrat of Long Island, wrote that assaults Physical terminating pregnancies can be prosecuted for first degree aggression, punishable by a prison term of up to 25 years, "far more than the previous sentence for" illegal abortion "".
"In addition, judges have the discretion to increase the sentence in cases where the crime was particularly violent," the editorial says. "The R.H.A. does not prevent appropriate indictment and conviction of violent perpetrators. "
Daniel R. Alonso, former chief prosecutor of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, said in an interview Sunday that the abortion charge against Mr. Hobson would not have assigned his potential sentence of murder, which replaces a charge of assault.
"The bottom line is that, killing the fetus is the same act as killing the mother, even though it was separate charges under the old law, you could not have more than 25 years for life, "he said.
Prosecutors said that a video surveillance inside Ms. Irigoyen's building in Ridgewood showed Mr. Hobson dragging his former girlfriend out of his third-floor apartment in a stairwell , where he stabbed her several times to the torso, neck and abdomen. She died later in a hospital.
Mr. Hobson went to the 104th constituency on Friday morning with his lawyer, Steven J. Questore, who said his client was "determined" to face the murder charge against him. He would not discuss the details of the case and would not say whether Mr. Hobson intended to fight the charge or plead guilty.
Regardless of the charges, said Mr. Alonso, it is unlikely that anyone who commits acts of violence against pregnant women gets away with it easily.
"Prosecutors have never been easy with men who have killed pregnant women," he said, "and neither the judges."
Abortion charges are rare in New York. Last year, only one person was charged with the crime, according to the governor's office. Prosecutors rarely used the charge because it added nothing to the prosecution of a case, officials said.
In the case of last year, the police said that Oscar Alvarez had stabbed his 26-week pregnant fiancée six times in the abdomen with a kitchen knife on May 22, 2017, after the Accused of unfaithfulness. He then kept her hostage for at least 30 minutes.
The victim, Livia Abreu, an army veteran who served in Afghanistan, survived. But his fetus does not have it.
Mr. Alvarez was charged with attempted second degree murder and abortion. It is not clear if the law on reproductive health will affect his case.
Patrice O 'Shaughnessy, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said that prosecutors "continue to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case and evaluate the existing law".