Archive for Thursday, January 18, 2007

Family asks for “Alexa’s Law”

January 18, 2007

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When Terri and Darren Brooks found out their 14-year-old daughter Chelsea was pregnant, they were not happy, but they decided Chelsea would keep the baby, and they would help her raise it.

Then, last summer, two weeks before Chelsea was due, she was found, murdered.

The accused killers - Chelsea's boyfriend and the men he hired to help him kill her - were only charged with one murder. That's because Kansas law says when a pregnant woman is murdered, only her death can be prosecuted, not her unborn child's.

One by one, members of the Brooks family took the stand, and told lawmakers about the pain of losing Chelsea, and her unborn baby, Alexa.

"I can't speak eloquently and I don't have speech writers, so I apologize for that, but what I say comes from my heart," Chelsea's older sister Andrea told lawmakers, through tears.

"Chelsea was extraordinary. At 14 she was more prepared to be a mom than most women that I know," Andrea said.

Even though Andrea and her parents never got to meet Baby Alexa, she was already part of their family, and they were ready to welcome her into their lives.

"And then the unthinkable happened, and instead of attending a baby shower we were making funeral arrangements for two," Chelsea's mother Terri Borrks said.

The pain was worsened when they found out the alleged murderers would only be charged with Chelsea's death and not the baby's.

The Brooks' vowed to change the law. Thousands of Kansas agreed with them, and signed a petition to make Alexa's Law a reality, and to make Alexa's life count.

"Alexa's life should count and by passing this law, even though it's too late for justice for Alexa, her life can count in the eyes of the law for future victims of violence," Terri added.

Similar legislation has been blocked in the past by pro-choice advocates who suggest the law would be a stepping stone to outlawing abortion.

The bill's supporters say that's not the intent, and have specifically included language in the bill to avoid that conflict.

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