by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2005
Montgomery, AL (LifeNews.com) — A state House committee in Alabama has approved a measure that would protect pregnant women and their unborn children. The law allows prosecutors to charge criminals who assault pregnant women and kill or injure their unborn children with two crimes instead of just one.
Lawmakers voted after lengthy debate and testimony form a woman who lost her unborn baby in an automobile accident.
The measure, sponsored by Republican Rep. Spencer Collier, passed in the House Judiciary Committee with only one dissenting vote, according to a Mobile Register news story. The bill now goes before the full House and then must be approved by the state Senate.
Keri Roberts told legislators she supported the bill.
Roberts was eight months pregnant in 2001 when she was the victim of an automobile accident that resulted in the death of her unborn daughter.
"I could not believe I lived in a state that does not recognize my daughter as a person," she told legislators as she fought back tears, the Register reported. "I buried her. I held her. I named her. I was ready for her. … I miss her every day. I talk to her every day."
Current state law only defines a human being as a person after birth and unborn children are not recognized as additional victims.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 30 states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. Some 18 states protect pregnant women and their unborn children throughout pregnancy.
In April 2004, President Bush signed a federal unborn victims bill that covers women throughout pregnancy who are victims of federal crimes or crimes on federal lands.
Such laws have never been found unconstitutional in the more than a dozen cases about them in state courts over the years.