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Pregnancy's Biggest Danger: Homicide

Sherry Ann Culp, a divorced mother of two, was pregnant by her boyfriend. Just before Sherry would have given birth--she was executed.

"She got into her car, was fumbling with her keys, and someone shot her through the window twice in the head," recalled her father, Ken Young.

The baby, Kelsey, survived for 2 days.

Three years later, police haven't made an arrest. But Sherry's parents say they believe whoever hired the hit man was motivated by rage over the pregnancy, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

"I think the baby was definitely the cause of her death," says her mother, Jane.

"If she hadn't been pregnant, she'd still be alive and she'd have a 3-year-old baby," says Ken.

Here is a little-known truth: Murder may be one of the leading causes of death among pregnant women.

There are many high-profile examples--like former pro football player Rae Carruth, who was convicted for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend.

But even Isabelle Horon, who studied the problem in Maryland, was stunned by her own findings that a pregnant woman is more likely to be murdered than to die of any other cause.

Her report, in theJournal of the American Medical Association, shows of 247 deaths of pregnant women in 5 years, 20% had been murdered.

When she was asked what it was about women being pregnant that made them more likely to be killed, Horon says, "Well, pregnancy is a stressful period under the best of circumstances."

"I just can't imagine killing a pregnant woman--I just can't," exclaims Jane Young.

The question is: What exactly is the connection between women becoming pregnant and becoming victims? That answer could help in developing preventive plans for mothers to be that extend beyond medical risks--to the risk of violence.

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