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Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other.

Under the Common Law, the crime of fornication consisted of unlawful sexual intercourse between an unmarried woman and a man, regardless of his marital status. If the woman was married, the crime was Adultery.

Today, statutes in a number of states declare that fornication is an offense, but such statutes are rarely enforced. On the theory that fornication is a victimless crime, many states do not prosecute persons accused of the offense.

Under modern-day legislation, if one of the two persons who engage in sexual intercourse is married to another person, he (or she) is guilty of adultery. Statutes in some states declare that if the woman is married, the sexual act constitutes adultery on the part of both persons, regardless of the man's marital status.

Fornication is an element of a number of Sex Offenses such as rape, Incest, and seduction.

Although penalties are seldom enforced, they usually consist of a fine, imprisonment, or both. In November of 1996 an Idaho prosecutor brought fornication charges against a teenage couple in an effort to curb teen pregnancy.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are not married to each other. This usage comes from Latin fornicari, meaning vaulted, which became the nickname for brothel, because prostitutes operated in a vaulted underground cavern in Rome. Fornication is still a misdemeanor in some states, as is adultery (sexual intercourse by a married person with someone not his/her spouse), but is virtually never prosecuted. If such anachronistic laws were enforced, the jails of America would have no room for robbers, murderers and drug dealers.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Connecticut Supreme Court has stated that "the timing of the agreement is of paramount importance in assessing whether [an agreement was voluntarily signed]." (39) Another approach is to look to Black's Law Dictionary, which defines "voluntary" as "intentionally; without coercion." (40) Some courts equate a voluntarily executed premarital agreement with one free from duress or undue influence.
Knowledge and attitude about premarital counseling among a group of Alexandria University students: a comparative study.
Many have called for premarital tests to be made obligatory to save their children from carrying genetic disorders.
[Association between socialisation and girls' attitudes towards traditional and modern values on premarital hetreosexual relationships].
The perceptions of the key respondents are relevant because they provide complementary information about the sociocultural dynamics and contexts in which the premarital sexual practices of youths take place (6).
A study conducted in Thailand showed that lack of maternal awareness related to antenatal screening is related to age, education, multi-gravidity and family history of thalassemia.11 A study conducted in Pakistan assessed that only 33% of the parents of thalassemic children had knowledge about premarital screening for detection of thalassemia trait and 76.5% had knowledge of prenatal screening.12 There is lack of scientific evidence on factors affecting parental knowledge about thalassemia major in Pakistan.
'We are providing all kinds of facilities at the hospitals and now premarital thalassaemia testing facility at the newly established laboratory,' he added.
The bill also proposed that the Nikah Registrar shall obtain test reports of premarital screening of spouse for thalassaemia, but the result whatever it may be shall have no effect on the marriage being solemnized.
All the research articles investigating the hepatitis premarital screening program worldwide were considered.
He emphasised that the ministry has adopted premarital examination and genetic counselling programme as a preventive measure to limit the spread of genetic diseases.
Dohair said premarital screening has had a strong impact in reducing the incidence of the disease, but the impact is not immediate.
"Currently there are three different simultaneous screening programmes running in parallel in Bahrain, which are High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) screening for all students at high school, premarital counselling and neonatal screening."