Kentucky Family Presses for State Unborn Victims Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky Family Presses for State Unborn Victims Law

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 25, 2003

Frankfort, KY ( — Sunday was an important day for Rosemary Hazlett — the first anniversary of her grandson’s death. She planned to mark the day with flowers on his grave.

In August 2002, her daughter Leah and her husband Ralph were involved in an automobile accident. were struck from behind by a driver allegedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. Their baby, Caleb, was delivered by Caesarean section but never took a breath.

Leah was three days past her due date, yet Kentucky law would not allow the driver to be punished for the death of their baby.

"These are babies, I don’t care what anybody says," Denham said, choking back tears. "They are humans."

Now Hazlett is attempting to keep Caleb’s memory alive by helping a pro-life state legislator promote an unborn victims bill that would allow prosecutors to charge criminals when they kill or injure unborn children in similar situations or in cases of violence against pregnant women.

"We just want to mark that Sunday as Caleb Denham’s first birthday, and keep the bill in their eyes and in their thoughts," said Hazlett. "As fall approaches, I’m going to start making some phone calls."

During the next legislative session, Rep. Stan Lee plans to introduce the unborn victims bill in the House and Senator Richard Roeding in the Senate.

Michael Janocik, the associate director of Kentucky Right to Life, tells the situation has changed from the last time pro-life lawmakers attempted to pass the bill.

"In the past, a recalcitrant House committee chairman has not allowed the bill to go to the House floor for a vote. But, the political landscape has changed," he said.

Lee said he, like the Denham family, would not let Caleb Denham die in vain, despite strong opposition to the bill from abortion advocates.

"They (the ACLU) say this is an assault on abortion rights … My point is, if you want to legally protect choice, you need to legally protect the choice of life by the mother," said Lee.

Beth Wilson, executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky, said he groups supports an alternative that punishes criminals for violence against pregnant women but doesn’t regard the unborn child as a victim.

Pro-life groups oppose such pro-abortion alternatives saying such bills tell unborn children who are injured but not killed that they were never victims — even if the injuries leave lasting physical or mental disabilities.

"The need for fetal protections is now acutely and clearly apparent and there is wide-spread public support due to the high-profile case of Lacy and Conner Peterson," Janocik explained. "We are confident that the Kentucky Legislature will pass fetal homicide legislation next session."

According to the National Right to Life Committee, 28 states have unborn victims laws, including 15 that cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy.

Related web sites:

Kentucky Right to Life –