Born Alive Rule Law and Legal Definition

Born alive rule is a legal rule governing an infant that could not be the subject of homicide at common law unless it had been born alive. The born alive rule implicates a substantive aspect of criminal offenses. Under this rule, if a child is born alive, despite an attack upon it and an injury to the mother while it was in the mother's womb, and the child thereafter dies as a result of the prenatal injury, it is deemed that a homicide has been committed.

In the U.S., thirty states have abandoned the born alive rule and imposed some form of liability for the killing of a fetus. The vast majority have done so statutorily, while a small minority has done so judicially. Among those jurisdictions abandoning this rule, the standard varies widely as to when criminal liability attaches, ranging from conception to quickening or viability.[State v. Lamy, 158 N.H. 511 (N.H. 2009)].