by Steven Ertelt
February 15, 2005
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — A state Senate committee has approved a measure that would increase the penalties for the crime of killing an unborn child during the course of an attack on a pregnant woman.
The measure is similar to state laws in approximately 30 other states and conforms with the national Unborn Victims of Violence Act signed by the president last year.
The bill would make killing the unborn child an equivalent crime to killing the mother. Currently, assailants are only charged with manslaughter in the death of a baby before birth.
Pro-life groups support the bill and say that currently law only allows the manslaughter charge if injuries to the mother were life threatening.
A minor injury would not trigger the additional charge, even if the unborn child died in the attack.
Sen. Bill Brotherton, a Phoenix Democrat, opposed the bill because he doesn’t want to charge criminals who killed an unborn child in the early stages of pregnancy.
"I don’t know if that’s a fair situation,” Brotherton said. "I don’t know if I see these types of death being the same."
Eleanor Eisenberg, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona testified in opposition to the legislation. She said the measure was possible unconstitutional.
However, Kathi Herrod, of the Center for Arizona Policy, said legal challenges to similar laws in other states have never won.
SB 1052 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Related web sites:
Arizona Right to Life – https://www.azrtl.org