In several jurisdictions in the United States, a rapist who causes his victim to become pregnant commits an aggravated sexual assault. Having committed an aggravated crime, he will be subjected to a longer prison sentence relative to his counterpart whose victim does not become pregnant consequent to the rape. The rapist who causes a woman to become pregnant will be treated as if he broke his victim’s leg, gave her severe head trauma, or shot her with a gun. That is, the victim’s pregnancy is treated the same as a broken bone, a concussion, or a gunshot wound. This intriguing result is the product of sexual assault statutes that provide that pregnancy is a “substantial bodily injury” that can aggravate a crime. These laws, which function to construct pregnancy as an injury, are interesting for many reasons, two of which this Article explores in depth.

 

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