DENVER (CBS4) – Murder charges in the case of a woman accused of cutting a baby out of a another woman’s womb were not filed because the baby was not breathing outside the womb. Now some lawmakers want to change state law.
Lawmakers have tried to get a fetal homicide law four times in the last seven years, but the sponsor of this year’s bill, Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, says it’s different. He insists it will protect a woman’s right to choose and won’t grant personhood, but will still allow a prosecutor to bring murder charges.
Seven weeks before Michelle Wilkins’ unborn baby was cut from her womb by another woman, at the Capitol Cadman was planning a bill on fetal homicide.
“How unfortunate that this incident would come to us and highlight need for protecting somebody so innocent,” Cadman said.
It’s protection he says the current law is lacking. It makes what happened to Wilkins a crime against her, not her unborn baby. Under his bill, if someone commits a criminal act that kills an unborn baby against the will of the mother, it would be murder.
“Granted, crazy people are going to do crazy things, but this is about justice,” Cadman said.
“The offender is going to be held accountable,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Boulder.
Foote pushed for the current law that he says has been used 10 times over the last year.
“We’ve provided tools that prosecutors and courts can use to bring justice to a situation where we couldn’t have done it before,” Foote said.
“Colorado right now has absolutely zero protections, no protection under the law for unborn children,” former Republican Rep. Mark Waller from Colorado Springs said.
Waller fought for a fetal homicide law for years. The problem with it is it hasn’t gone far enough for Republicans, and too far for Democrats.
Pointing to a picture of his own son’s tiny feet when he was born, Cadman insists it’s not about personhood, but justice.
“This is what just got robbed of this lady, and some infant’s life was lost, and there’s nothing in Colorado law that protects … or punishes,” Cadman said. “The time is now.”
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The National Conference of State Legislatures says 38 states have some type of fetal homicide law. It includes Colorado’s unlawful termination of a pregnancy among them, but Cadman says the problem is the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
Cadman will introduce his bill next week and definitely has an uphill battle.