Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fetal homicide bill goes to governor

April 26, 2007


— Prosecutors could charge someone with murder, manslaughter or battery for intentionally harming a fetus under a bill that won House approval Wednesday and went to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

The proposed "Alexa's Law," named for the fetus of a 14-year-old Wichita girl murdered last year, had strong backing from abortion opponents. But an abortion rights leader called it "a step backwards" in protecting women.

The House vote was 97-27 and came three weeks after the Senate approved the measure. Sebelius is a strong abortion rights supporter but hasn't declared whether she'll sign or veto the bill.

"As bills move through the legislative process, they sometimes change along the way, and we'll need to take a careful look before weighing in," said spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran.

The goal of supporters is that when a pregnant woman is attacked, prosecutors would be allowed to charge her assailant with a crime against her and a separate crime against the baby she's carrying. State law makes injuring a pregnant woman a felony, but it doesn't treat the fetus as a second victim.

The bill says the definition of "person" for nine crimes includes an "unborn child" at any stage of development in the womb. Those crimes are capital, first-degree and second-degree murder; vehicular homicide; voluntary and involuntary manslaughter; battery and aggravated battery; and manslaughter while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Abortion rights advocates disagree that mothers-to-be will have the same legal protections, because the bill repeals the laws against injury to a pregnant woman.

"It only gives protection for the fetus. There is absolutely no protection for the woman," said Julie Burkhart, a lobbyist for ProKanDo, an abortion rights group. "The state legislators here decided to take a step backwards, and women are not well served."

Abortion rights advocates also see the bill as a step toward banning abortions and contend that is why it's important to anti-abortion groups like Kansans for Life. Their fears intensified, Burkhart said, after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week upholding a federal ban on a late-term procedure that critics call "partial-birth" abortion.


SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

Thank you legislature! Governor, please sign Alexa's Law!

50YearResident 10 years ago

If signed, anyone getting an abortion will be charged with murder. Think of the implications of this bill!

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

50Year, Think of the implications of aborting your child.

Confrontation 10 years ago

The county president of Kansans for Life, in the area where I grew up, is a great poster child for the pro-choice movement. Her and her husband had seven kids, and she kept saying that she would have them as long as God let her. That'd be fine, except for the fact that she was receiving thousands of dollars in foodstamps and welfare payments every month. Her husband was an incredibly lazy farmer, and she ran a business out of her house (and didn't claim any of the income). I suppose her message was, "If I can suck the system dry, then so can you."

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

Confrontation, I have a haunting suspicion I know what you mean when referring to that family as, "a great poster child for the pro-choice movement."

Are you saying that their now-living children should have been aborted?

MyName 10 years ago

Right, this bill sounds really dumb. Why does the legislature waste time passing bills covering areas that already have a statute that addresses the issue? Why can't they put their efforts toward solving the actual problems we have in this state?

lunacydetector 10 years ago

confrontation, are you saying less future taxpayers is a good thing? who will take care of our elderly population now that they outnumber the young? who will pay? how will the democratic party survive with their future numbers predicted to drop to nothing? al gore would've won if the democrats hadn't aborted their children.

Confrontation 10 years ago

SettingTheRecordStraight: Although this woman's children were incredibly ignorant and raised like animals, it was her choice whether or not to abort them. I'm just saying that anyone who can't afford a child should not being having one, even if your God gives you the ability. Although I am pro-choice, I do prefer prevention over abortion (as do most others).

lunacy: It may come as a surprise to you, but liberals aren't the only ones getting abortions. Check out the statistics on the percentage of all abortions that are being provided to Catholics and people of other "faiths" who claim to be conservative. As for the woman I discussed, her children will most likely be living off taxpayers, rather than adding to taxes being paid.

Godot 10 years ago

Without this law, if a pregnant woman were attacked, and she survives, but her baby dies because of the attack, what recourse would she have for the loss of her unborn child?

Would she sue the attacker for damage to personal property?

MyName 10 years ago

if a pregnant woman were attacked, and she survives, but her baby dies because of the attack, what recourse would she have for the loss of her unborn child?

Hello! Being physically attacked is already a crime! Assault and Battery are crimes and are also offenses that you can sue someone for damages! Are you that ignorant of the law?

preebo 10 years ago


I would assume that currently given the scenario that you have presented the perpetrator would be charged either with attempted murder or perhaps assault. In either case they would still have to answer for their crimes under the rule of law.

promitida 10 years ago

I think that the point that MyName missed was that yes, a woman who was battered/assaulted and lost her child, could sue for being battered. However, that does not seem like enough of a charge when a child is lost as a result of the attack.

bettie 10 years ago

Agnostick said: "It's pretty clear to me that this bill targets pregnant women who had each and every intention of carrying their pregnancies to term, and delivering a healthy baby."

Laws identical to Alexa's law have been used in other state predominantly to prosecute women for their own behavior during pregnancy. Women who have gone against doctor's recommendations, such as bedrest or c-sections, have been prosecuted for such crimes as manslaughter when they suffered miscarriages.

Here's a great article on the fetal rights phenomenon from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women:

At the end of the of the day, whether you're talking about women who want to carry their pregnancies or those who don't, granting fetuses personhood creates a conflict between the mother's rights and the fetuses. That's what's wrong with this bill.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

Bettie, All the pictures on your recommended webpage are of smiling babies. Why are they smiling? Because they were not dismembered or burned alive in the womb by an abortionist. They were granted the civil and human right of life.

MyName 10 years ago

I think that the point that MyName missed was that yes, a woman who was battered/assaulted and lost her child, could sue for being battered. However, that does not seem like enough of a charge when a child is lost as a result of the attack.

I didn't miss it, I answered the question as it was submitted. And if you are merely talking about civil law, then the damages awarded always depend upon the serverity of the action, and in the case of the battery causing a miscarriage the damages could be substantial. If you are looking at criminal law, you could also include also include Kansas Statute 21-3440:

  21-3440.   Injury to a pregnant woman. (a) Injury to a pregnant woman is injury to a pregnant woman by a person other than the pregnant woman in the commission of a felony or misdemeanor causing the pregnant woman to suffer a miscarriage as a result of that injury.

Depending upon the circumstances this can be a class 4 or 5 person felony or a class A misdemeanor. Which is pretty serious.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

If I look at a poster's posts, I can no longer access the actual articles they were posting about. For example, "26 April 2007 at 9:27 a.m. Suggest removal James, Are Americans taxed too little?"

This does not give me a link to the article as it once did.

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