Article 119a: Death or Injury of an Unborn Child

Any service member of the United States Armed Forces who, in the act of a violent offense against a pregnant woman, injures or kills her unborn child—whether unknowingly or intentionally—may face charges under Article 119a of the UCMJ.

A conviction under Article 119a, combined with the offenses that you may already be facing, will be the end to your military career and almost certainly the end to life as you currently know it:

  • You will likely face lengthy prison sentences, effectively guaranteeing you may live out a good portion of your life behind bars.
  • You will have nothing to offer your family. Your healthcare and pension will no longer be available to them. Paychecks will disappear.
  • Additional felony charges may be brought against you. Even if you do avoid a life sentence, your future outside of prison looks just as bleak.

Your case is not hopeless and you have not been convicted of anything—yet. If you believe your freedom and your life are worth fighting for, contact Bilecki & Tipon TODAY to set up a free consultation into your case.

What Is Article 119a of the UCMJ?

Every article of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Three unique criminal offenses are defined under Article 119a, each with its own set of elements which must be proven.

(1) Injuring an unborn child

(a) That the accused was engaged in the murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, maiming, or assault of a woman, or performed an act of arson of a property belonging to a woman;

(b) That the woman was then pregnant; and

(c) That the accused thereby caused bodily injury to the unborn child of that woman

(2) Killing an unborn child

(a) That the accused was engaged in the murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, maiming, or assault of a woman, or performed an act of arson of a property belonging to a woman;

(b) That the woman was then pregnant; and

(c) That the accused thereby caused the death of the unborn child of that woman

(3) Attempting to kill an unborn child

(a) That the accused was engaged in the murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, maiming, or assault of a woman, or performed an act of arson of a property belonging to a woman;

(b) That the woman was then pregnant; and

(c) That the accused thereby intended and attempted to kill the unborn child of that woman

(4) Intentionally killing an unborn child

(a) That the accused was engaged in the murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, maiming, or assault of a woman, or performed an act of arson of a property belonging to a woman;

(b) That the woman was then pregnant; and

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That the accused thereby intentionally killed the unborn child of that woman

Summary of the Elements of Article 119a: Four offenses are defined under Article 119a of the UCMJ. All four require prosecutors to prove that the victim was pregnant at the time and that the crime occurred while a service member was performing a separate criminal offense, such as murder, rape or manslaughter.

The intent of the service member to do harm to the child, combined with the extent of the injuries to the child (whether the child was injured or killed, for instance) will influence which criminal offense the accused is charged with as well as the nature of his or her sentencing once a final verdict is called.

Military Defense Attorney for Article 119a of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

Service members accused under Article 119a are also facing charges from one or more of a half-dozen possible offenses under the UCMJ. The sheer number of criminal offenses you may be facing is enough to overwhelm even the most levelheaded military veteran.

The government, meanwhile, may be pressuring you to confess and accept a reduced sentence. Should you accept, you will receive a terrible deal and may never breathe air as a free man or woman ever again.

Bilecki & Tipon has fought and won cases under Article 119a and we’re prepared to help you do the same. We’ll begin by performing a full review of the circumstances surrounding your case:

  • It is unlikely you’ll be found guilty under Article 119a if prosecutors fail to prove that you committed the original crime that led to the injury or death of the child in the first place. For example, if you’re accused of rape under Article 120 of the UCMJ, and the victim claims the rape led to the injury of her child, then being found not guilty of the rape would all but end the threat of sentencing under Article 119a. Therefore, we may focus our resources around acquitting you of the offense which caused the alleged death or injury of the child, rather than strictly on the Article 119a offense itself.
  • Is it a certainty that the child was injured or killed due to your actions in the original offense? Did the mother have complications prior to the perpetration of the original offense? Bilecki & Tipon will review the government’s evidence concerning the alleged extent of the injuries and, if we feel it beneficial, may hire our own medical experts to show that there was in fact some precedent for the injuries prior to the original offense.
  • What have prosecutors claimed were your motives regarding the child? Have they attempted to prove that you knowingly sought to kill the child when you in fact had no idea the victim was pregnant? The government may be throwing charges at you to see what sticks. We’ll quickly point this out and quickly secure reduced charges.

No matter how grim the situation looks—there is always an opportunity to win back your freedom. Call Bilecki & Tipon TODAY and receive a consultation into your case.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 119a Charges

Service members of the United States Armed Forces have been putting their trust in Bilecki & Tipon for decades. We strive to secure the best possible outcome for our clients in every case – no exceptions.

If you need a military defense attorney with a record for coming out on top in court, look no further. You’ve found us.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 119a: Death or Injury of an Unborn Child

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 119a: Death or Injury of an Unborn Child?

For all offenses under Article 119a, the maximum punishment may be anything other than the death sentence. Sentencing, according to the Manual for Court Martial, will be “consistent with the punishment had the bodily injury, death, attempt to kill, or intentional killing occurred to the unborn child’s mother.”

Does Article 119a Have a Relation to Abortion in Any Form?

No. Article 119a is not related to abortions in the slightest. A woman must be attacked and the injury or death to her child must occur in that fashion in order for a service member to be charged under this article.

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us

  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC His knowledge and experience were evident during the Article 32 where he seemed to sort of take control of the court room.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC This was the best investment I have ever made in my life. Again I am forever in debt to this firm.
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  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his team are extremely aggressive, thorough, and know what they are doing. They saved my life.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Do not go into the courtroom by yourself. Go in with a confident hard charging legal firm like Bilecki & Tipon.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his associates are amazingly qualified and skilled in handling UCMJ cases.
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