DENVER (CBS4) – Hit-and-run drivers who cost a woman her pregnancy could be charged in the unborn baby’s death under a bill at the state Capitol.
The bill is the result of some high profile and heartbreaking cases. They are accidents that left entire communities grieving.
Laurie Gorham was hit in Stapleton in 2010 and Heather Surovik was hit in Longmont last year. In both cases the drivers were caught, but under Colorado law couldn’t be charged in the deaths of the unborn babies.
“If someone acts in a criminal way and causes a tragic result, they should be prosecuted for it,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-District 12.
Foote is sponsoring a bill that would make the death of an unborn child as the result of a crime a homicide. Various adaptations of the bill have been introduced time and again at the Capitol and failed.
Republican Rep. Mark Waller sponsored a similar bill two years ago and ended up killing it amid pressure from the anti-abortion, pro-life community.
“Fetal homicide is not an abortion issue at all,” Waller said. “Fetal homicide is a criminal justice issue.”
Planned Parenthood agrees. It’s not only supporting this year’s bill, it pushed for it.
“We, every single day, work to ensure women and their families are supported,” Monica McCafferty with Planned Parenthood said. “That’s part of our mission, and this bill falls in line with our mission.”
Waller, who is the Republican leader of the House this year, stopped short of supporting the new bill, saying he wanted to see it first.
Planned Parenthood’s backing means Democrats, who are in control of both the House and the Senate, will likely get it done. Thirty-five other states already have similar laws on the books.
The bill is written such that it protects women who end their pregnancy and the doctors who assist them from prosecution. It also explicitly says it is not establishing personhood.