BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Jury selection is under way in the trial of a Longmont woman accused of cutting another woman’s unborn baby from her womb, a case that reignited the debate over the legal rights of fetuses.

About 300 potential jurors were summoned to the Boulder County courthouse Thursday to fill out written questionnaires in the case of 35-year-old Dynel Lane.

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Lane is accused of luring expectant mother Michelle Wilkins to a basement last March and cutting the baby from her belly. Wilkins, 26, was 8 months pregnant, and the unborn girl did not survive.

Lane was charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the attack. But District Attorney Stan Garnett said he could not charge Lane with murder because a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb. That prompted Colorado Republicans to introduce legislation that would have allowed prosecutors to file murder charges for killing a fetus, but the effort failed. It was the third time Republicans had tried to get such a measure passed.

Michelle Wilkins (credit: Dr. Phil)

Michelle Wilkins (credit: Dr. Phil)

The unlawful termination charge was filed under a new law intended to be a compromise between opponents and supporters of abortion rights.

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Lane pleaded not guilty, but her attorneys have not revealed much about her defense. Police officials said after the attack that mental illness may have been an issue.

Prosecutors say Wilkins met Lane while responding to a Craigslist ad for baby clothes. Lane then attacked Wilkins and cut her with a broken piece of glass.

Lane then took the baby to a hospital, telling staff she had suffered a miscarriage. She had apparently convinced her family she was pregnant, telling her husband she had given birth to their baby at home.

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