Kentucky Bills Would Target Violence Against Pregnant Women

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky Bills Would Target Violence Against Pregnant Women

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
January 13, 2004

Frankfort, KY ( — Two bills have been introduced in the Kentucky state legislature regarding the unborn victims of violence. In an interview with, pro-life Rep. Stan Lee, (R-Lexington), took the time to explain the differences in the bills.

Rep. Lee has been urging the legislature in his state to pass an unborn victims of violence bill in previous sessions. His bill, called the "Caleb-Haley Act" in memory of two unborn children who died in homicide cases, would allow criminal charges in the death of unborn children from the moment of conception through birth. In Caleb’s case, he was already several days past his due date when he was killed in a car accident.

Following these and several other similar cases in the state, Rep. Lee said it was "ridiculous" that Kentucky did not offer the protection of the unborn that other states already do.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, 28 states have unborn victims laws that allow prosecutors to charge criminals with an additional crime when an attack on a pregnant mother results in the death or injury to the unborn child. Some 15 states cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy.

The other bill introduced by Rep. Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) and House Speaker Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green) among others, requires that the unborn child be deemed ‘viable’ in order to have criminal charges filed on behalf of the unborn.

"The viability standard is nebulous," Rep. Lee told "It’s not an exact science, that’s why due dates are given as a range."

"As a defense attorney, I could find an obstetrician to tell me the child was not viable in a given case," he added.

Damron’s bill is also not something the pro-life movement wants because it doesn’t protect unborn children throughout pregnancy. Rather, it’s what pro-abortion advocates want in such a bill, according to Lee.

"The drafter of the viability unborn victims law went with enhanced penalties," said Lee, referring to the bill’s establishment of one victim for the crime, but increasing penalties if the victim is pregnant. The Caleb-Haley act, on the other hand, calls for two counts of homicide.

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.

That’s Planned Parenthood’s stance on the unborn victims laws," said Lee, regarding the viability bill’s single victim penalties. "It’s a pro-abortion bill."

"I believe life begins at conception," he concluded. "To quote Dr. Seuss, ‘A person’s a person no matter how small.’"

The Caleb-Haley Act has already received endorsement from Governor Ernie Fletcher and Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, who has been an outspoken champion of a national unborn victims of violence law.

Related Sites:

Kentucky Right to Life –
Caleb-Haley Bill Website –
Listing of State Unborn Victim Laws –