Alaska Pro-Life Lawmaker Promotes Unborn Victims Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alaska Pro-Life Lawmaker Promotes Unborn Victims Bill

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
April 21, 2004

Juneau, AK ( — An Alaskan lawmaker wants his state to offer the same protections to pregnant women and unborn children that the federal government created with the Unborn Victims of Violence law passed earlier this month.

Sen. Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River) has resumed his push for the state legislature to pass SB 219, an Alaskan unborn victims bill that would apply the ability for state authorities to charge those who kill an unborn child in a violent attack on the mother with a separate and equal crime, as the version President Bush signed only applies to federal cases.

"We, along with other states, need to have this legislation available in state jurisdictions and under state law," Sen. Dyson told "Many of these crimes will be prosecuted under state law and on state or local land."

So far 29 states have similar legislation, 16 of which protect an unborn child from the moment of conception. None of those laws has ever been successfully challenged in court.

Sen. Dyson noted that opponents of the measure had difficulty presenting substantial arguments against it.

"All of the testimony against this bill was reactive from abortion providers or so called women’s rights advocates who saw the bill as furthering the consideration that an unborn child was actually a ‘person’ and logic that it would further undercut a women’s right to kill her unborn child any time she wants," said Sen. Dyson. "The testimony was ultimately sad."

Sen. Dyson hopes pregnant victims of violent acts as well as their families can have the loss of their unborn children recognized by their state, as their country already does.

"As of today, the law of our nation will acknowledge the plain fact that crimes of violence against a pregnant woman often have two victims," President Bush said at the signing ceremony for the federal law earlier this month. "And therefore, in those cases, there are two offenses to be punished.

"Under this law, those who direct violence toward a pregnant woman will answer for the full extent of the harm they have done, and for all the crimes they have committed," the president added.

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator John Kerry opposed the Congressional bill. He voted against it and for a substitute opposed by families of women who have died that said there was only one victim when both mother and child perished.

Kerry drew ire from mothers that had lost more than just their daughters in violent acts, but also their grandchildren.

"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.

A May 2003 Newsweek poll found that 84 percent of Americans believe that when both mother and child die, the attacker should be charged "for two murders instead of one," including 56 percent who believe this should apply "in all cases where a pregnant woman is murdered."

Related web sites:
Alaska state legislature –