Kentucky Governor Signs Pro-Life Unborn Victims Bill Into Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky Governor Signs Pro-Life Unborn Victims Bill Into Law

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 26, 2004

Frankfort, KY (LifeNews.com) — Governor Ernie Fletcher signed his first bill into law, which happened to be legislation making it a crime to kill and unborn child in a violent act — similar to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act being considered in the U.S. Congress.

While the bill was signed last week, and due to its emergency clause took effect immediately, the formal ceremony took place Wednesday afternoon and was attended by the legislators that had supported it, pro-life leaders, and families of the victims in the now-recognized multiple-victim crimes.

"We’re just delighted," Margie Montgomery, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life told LifeNews.com. "After 18 years of struggle we have a good, strong fetal homicide law in Kentucky."

Those 18 years have seen a number of tragedies involving unborn children, including the January shooting death of 18-year-old Ashley Renee Lyons who was 5 months pregnant.

Originally, HB 108 only allowed for the creation of "fetal homicide" after the child was considered viable. Later, Rep. Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville), altered his bill to protect the unborn from the moment of conception. Three bills had been introduced this session, but Damron’s bill had been favored by Democratic House leaders after his change, his bill also received endorsement from Kentucky Right to Life, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, and Gov. Fletcher.

"It fulfills our view of the sanctity of human life,” said Rev. Patrick Delahanty, deputy director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, noting that Damron’s bill also did not allow for the death penalty for those convicted for the homicides.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, 29 states have unborn victims laws, including Kentucky, and 15 cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy. None of those laws has ever been successfully challenged in Court.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Unborn Victims of Violence Act today and the Senate will likely vote soon after.

The federal legislation, as well as several similar state bills, has been endorsed by Sharon Rocha, mother of Laci Peterson and grandmother of her unborn child Conner, whose bodies washed up on the California coast last year in a murder investigation that received national attention.

Related web sites:
Kentucky Right to Life – https://www.krla.org
State Unborn Victims Laws Challenges – https://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_Victims/statechallenges.html