A 51-year-old Texas man has been accused of allegedly impregnating a 14 year-old girl and then coercing her into taking abortion pills to terminate her baby. Under the Texas Prenatal Protection Act passed in 2003, inflicting bodily injury to a pregnant woman resulting in the death or injury to her unborn child is a criminal offense.
Mauricio Hernandez was arrested in North Texas after the young girl was admitted to the hospital for excessive bleeding. The girl told officials that she gave birth in a portable toilet after Hernandez reportedly gave her two abortion pills without her knowledge or consent. Police found the full-term child submerged in the toilet.
The girl then revealed that Hernandez had been sexually abusing her since she was 13.
Hernandez was charged with sexual assault of a minor, and police are investigating the cause of death of the unborn child. The Texas Prenatal Protection Act recognizes both the mother and her unborn child as separate victims in a violent crime committed against a pregnant woman.
Prior to 2003, Texas law did not recognize an unborn child as a separate victim, in addition to the mother, with respect to violent crimes. Recognition of the unborn child as a separate victim codified into state penal law the personhood of the unborn child from the moment of fertilization.
Texas Right to Life championed the Prenatal Protection Act to ensure justice for pregnant women and unborn children who are victims of violence.
Texas Right to Life calls for the protection of minor pregnant girls who are victims of sexual assault, and consequently, ushered into abortion clinics by their abusers without their parents’ knowledge.
The Dallas County medical examiner's office has confirmed that the baby was born alive and weighed between 5 and 8 pounds.
If Hernandez is charged with causing the 14-year-old to miscarry against her wishes, he could face capital murder charges.