Kentucky State House Approves Pro-Life Unborn Victims Bill
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 30, 2004
Frankfort, KY (LifeNews.com) — The state House overwhelmingly passed a bill Friday to allow for prosecution in the death of an unborn child. The bill passed 88-5, and now goes to the Senate where a similar version of the bill passed last week.
The bill, HB 108, was proposed by Rep. Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) and had originally only protected "viable" unborn children, but changed it protect mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy. Now it resembles the pro-life bill that passed the Senate, the Caleb-Haley Act proposed by State Rep. Stan Lee (D-Lexington), and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act being considered by the U.S. Congress.
Damron’s bill also carries an emergency clause, which means it would take effect immediately as soon as it is signed by pro-life Gov. Ernie Fletcher. The House has historically been the hurdle unborn victims bills had difficulty overcoming, and with the Senate’s passage of a similar bill already it now appears very likely Kentucky will pass the law this session.
That’s good news to pro-life groups who say criminals shouldn’t get off the hook when they kill or injure an unborn child in the process of an attack on a pregnant woman.
Senate Bill 4, which passed the Senate January 27, allows for the death penalty, while Damron’s bill does not. The distinction was important to the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, which endorsed Damron’s bill. Right to Life of Kentucky also added their endorsement after the bill was changed to recognize the unborn life from the point of conception.
"It fulfills our view of the sanctity of human life,” said Rev. Patrick Delahanty, deputy director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.
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.
The presentation of three bills in the Kentucky legislature to protect unborn children this session comes after numerous violent crimes and automobile accidents claimed the lives of several unborn children — none of which were ever recognized as being alive by the courts.
Charmaine Holbrook who lost her unborn child last summer in an automobile accident, spoke at a rally for Rep. Lee’s bill earlier this month. The other driver, who tried to pass in a no-passing zone, will be tried for a single charge of assault on Holbrook. He won’t be held accountable for killing her baby.
"That man won’t spend one day — not one day in jail for killing my daughter," Holbrook said in a choked voice. "That’s unthinkable."
More recently, the body of 18-year-old Ashley Renee Lyons was found shot to death in her car earlier this month. Her family had just found out hours before her death that she was five months pregnant.
"My grandbaby was alive. I saw pictures of him," said Lyons’ mother, Carol.