Unintentional abortion, Revised Penal Code

1. Concept and legal basis

Article 257. Unintentional abortion. – The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium period shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause an abortion by violence, but unintentionally. (Act 3815, Revised Penal Code)

2. Elements of the offense

Elements of the offense:

1) That there is a pregnant woman;

2) That violence is used upon such pregnant woman without intending an abortion;

3) That the violence is intentionally exerted; and,

4) That as a result of the violence the fetus dies, either in the womb or after having been expelled therefrom. (People v. Paycana, Jr., G.R. No. 179035, 16 April 2008)

3. Contrasted with other offenses

a. Unintentional abortion v. Infanticide

In the crime of infanticide, it is necessary that the child be born alive and be viable, that is, capable of independent existence. However, even if the child who was expelled prematurely and deliberately were alive at birth, the offense is abortion due to the fact that a fetus with an intrauterine life of 6 months is not viable. (People v. Paycana, Jr., supra.)

PEOPLE v. PAYCANA, G.R. No. 179035, 16 April 2008


⦁ [The Accused] sought to exculpate himself from the crime by setting up self-defense, claiming that it was his wife who attacked him first. In view of the nature of self-defense, it necessarily follows that [the Accused] admits having killed his seven (7)-month pregnant wife, and in the process put to dea...


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