Quick with child
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QUICK WITH CHILD, or QUICKENING, med. jurisp. The motion of the foetus, when
felt by the mother, is called quickening, and the mother is then said to be
quick with child. 1 Beck's Med. Jurisp. 172; 1 Russ. on Cr. 553.
2. This happens at different periods of pregnancy in different women, and in different circumstances, but most usually about the fifteenth or sixteenth week after conception. 3 Camp. Rep. 97.
3. It is at this time that in law, life (q.v.) is said to commence. By statute, a distinction is made between a woman quick with child, and one who, though pregnant, is not so, when she is said to be privement enceinte. (q.v.) 1 Bl. Com. 129.
4. Procuring the abortion (q.v.) of a woman quick with child, is a misdemeanor when a woman is capitally convicted, if she be enceinte, it is said by Lord Hale, 2 P. C. 413, that unless they be quick with child, it is no cause for staying execution, but that if she be enceinte, and quick with child, she may allege that fact in retardationem executionis. The humanity of the law of the present day would scarcely sanction the execution of a woman whose pregnancy was undisputed, although she might not be quick with child; for physiologists, perhaps not without reason, think the child is a living being from the moment of conception. 1 Beck, Med. Jur. 291; Guy, Med. Jur. 86, 87.