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Governor signs fetal wrongful death bill

Gov. Bob McDonnell has approved a bill creating a new tort cause of action in Virginia for the wrongful death of an unborn child.

McDonnell offered no proposed amendments as he signed Senate Bill 674 Monday. The bill takes effect July 1.

Supporters say the bill allows compensation for family members when an unborn child dies as a result of medical malpractice, domestic abuse or negligence. Currently, an expectant mother can recover emotional distress damages for the loss of a fetus, but there is no cause of action for wrongful death.

One supporter said the bill provides a civil remedy to correspond with the recent approval of criminal punishment for fetal homicide.

By Peter Vieth

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