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Deadly Hit & Run Spurs Debate On Fetal Homicide Bill

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DENVER (CBS4)– The death of a woman’s unborn child in a hit and run could change the way Colorado law views homicide cases.

Laurie Gorham was 8 months pregnant when she was struck by a hit and run driver while crossing a street in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood. Gorham survived the crash, but was critically injured. Her unborn child did not survive.

Under Colorado law, the driver can not be charged in the unborn baby’s death.

Rep. Mark Waller, (R) District 15, is sponsoring the bill. He said the accident highlights a loophole in Colorado law.

Waller is a former district attorney. He insists it is a criminal justice issue, not an abortion issue.

“I think most people on both sides of the abortion issue recognize there’s a hole in our statutes here,” said Waller.

Waller’s bill would make the death of an unborn child as the result of a crime, a homicide, regardless of how far along the pregnancy is.

“We are very optimistic that we can work together to find legislation and language that is fair,” said Monica McCafferty with Planned Parenthood.

“We are committed to finding a solution that addresses what happened but does not establish personhood or anything challenging Roe V. Wade,” said McCafferty.

“I’m not trying to make a statement here, I’m trying to pass a law,” said Waller.

35 states have enacted similar legislation, including California.

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