A 25-year-old man, Jarod Rebuck, of Fisherburg, Indiana, was charged with attempted feticide after he allegedly spiked his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with a herbal substance that may cause miscarriages; after having ingested the substance, and detecting an unusual smell, the girlfriend, became suspicious and checked Rebuck’s phone records and discovered that he had used the Internet to search for “ways to cause a miscarriage”. She called the police, and they were able to identify the substance as Clary Sage, and the police are now claiming that Rebuck intended to kill his girlfriend’s fetus; according to some reports, Rebuck has provided a statement, but the detail of his remarks are presently unknown.
COMMENT: It is questionable whether the state will be able to prove an attempted murder charge in this case successfully. Indiana Public Law 158 (2014) sets forth the offense of feticide. Sec. 1 provides that: A person who: * * * (4) knowingly or intentionally kills a fetus that has attained viability [is guilty of murder]. Another part of the statute defines “viability” as “the ability of a fetus to live outside the mother’s womb.” Here, the state must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Rebuck intentionally attempted to kill the fetus, and that he took specific steps toward the accomplishment of that goal. This case is not straight-forward in the sense that Clary is not a substance generally associated with miscarriage; instead, it has (according to the many descriptions of the herb), numerous (and healthy) purposes with only some mention of problems associated with pregnancy. One of the purported values of the herb is to ease the discomfort of labor. The details of the defendant’s alleged confession, and scientific testimony, likely will play a significant role in this case if it goes to trial.