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Fetal homicide charge for drinking while pregnant

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 14 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:645

An American woman has been charged with attempting to murder her fetus by drinking alcohol throughout her pregnancy, including the day she gave birth.

Deborah Zimmerman, then aged 34 and nine months pregnant, entered a Wisconsin bar at 2 pm on 16 March. Halfway through her second drink she confided to the bartender that she was pregnant. He immediately took the drink away and found someone to contact her mother, who took her to the hospital.

In the hospital Deborah Zimmerman swore at the staff and tore off the fetal heart monitors. “If you don't keep me here, I'm just going to go home and keep drinking and drink myself to death,” she reportedly told a surgical aide. “And I'm going to kill this thing because I don't want it …

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