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Maryland Crime of Violence Against Pregnant Person – Enhanced Penalty (SB 561)

This law was last updated on May 31, 2019




SB 561


Signed into Law


Feb 4, 2019


Co-sponsors: 2
Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 3


Fetal Homicide

Full Bill Text

SB 561 prohibits a person from committing a certain crime of violence against another person when the person knows or believes that the other person is pregnant.

A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony and—in addition to any other penalty imposed for the underlying crime of violence—on conviction would be subject to up to ten years imprisonment.

Below is the original version of SB 561.

As introduced, SB 561 would have expanded the application of certain provisions relating to a prosecution for murder or manslaughter of a viable fetus to include nonviable fetuses.

The bill defines “fetus” to mean “an unborn offspring of the species homo sapiens from the end of the eighth week after fertilization until birth.

The bill would allow a prosecution for murder or manslaughter of a fetus if the person prosecuted:

  • intended to cause the death of the fetus;
  • intended to cause serious physical injury to the fetus; or
  • wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the fetus; and
  • should have known that the individual was pregnant at the time of the offense.

Related Legislation

Companion bill to HB 757.

Similar to HB 748/SB 533, which failed to pass in 2018.

Latest Action

2/4/19 – Introduced.

3/15/19 – Passed the Senate in a 46-1 vote.

4/8/19 – Passed the House with amendments in a 136-0 vote.

4/8/19 – Conference committee report adopted.

4/8/19 – Passed the Senate in a 44-0 vote.

4/8/19 – Passed the House in a 135-0 vote.

5/13/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.


Primary Sponsor