Maryland Legislature Kills Unborn Victims of Violence Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Maryland Legislature Kills Unborn Victims of Violence Bill

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
April 3, 2004

Annapolis, MD ( — Shortly after the federal Unborn Victims of Violence act passed the U.S. Senate, Maryland senators voted to indefinitely postpone consideration of such a bill in their state.

A narrow margin of legislators decided to table the bill, on a 25-22 vote. Senator Leo Green (D-Bowie) compared the vote to a modern Plessy vs. Ferguson.

"We’re back to separate but equal," said Sen. Green.

The bill would have allowed the state to hold criminals accountable when they kill or injure an unborn child in the course of an attack on a pregnant woman. Some 29 states have enacted such legislation, sixteen of which protect the child through the entire pregnancy.

Del. William Frank (R-Lutherville) put forth Maryland’s unborn victims legislation following an assault on a woman pregnant with twins last December. Both children died, but the criminals can only be charged with assault on the woman, as Maryland does not allow for charges for crimes against unborn children.

"This bill is not about the abortion debate," Frank told the Herald-Mail newspaper. "We’re trying to focus on preventing violence against women … and their unborn children."

According to a 2001 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 20 percent of Maryland women who died during pregnancy were murdered, the leading cause of death.

Families of pregnant women who were targets of violence criticized Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential hopeful, for voting against the federal legislation.

"I’m appalled that Senator Kerry voted the wrong way," Carol Lyons of Kentucky, whose pregnant daughter, Ashley, and unborn grandson Landon were murdered in January, told the Washington Times. "He’s running for president of the United States, and he doesn’t believe there are two victims. … I know my grandbaby was real … I have two victims."

"Before politicians say that Conner was not really a victim of a crime, they need to think long and hard about whether they really want to say that," Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, said.

Related web sites:
Maryland State Legislature –