by Steven Ertelt
March 17, 2005
Annapolis, MD (LifeNews.com) — A Maryland state House committee on Thursday held a hearing on legislation that would offer further protection for pregnant women and their unborn children. Unlike a majority of states, Maryland has no law allowing criminals to be prosecuted when they kill or injure an unborn child when attacking a pregnant woman.
"This bill is not about abortion rights," said Del. William Frank. "It’s about protecting women from violence."
WBAL-TV reported that lawmakers discussed the case of Shameka Fludd, a 23 year-old woman who was five months pregnant when she was killed by her boyfriend, Tjane Marshall. Marshall said the baby would "ruin his life" and killed Fludd and her baby.
While Marshall was tried for killing Fludd, he received no punishment for the death of her baby.
Frank’s bill has 61 co-sponsors and is patterned after laws in more than two dozen other states and a national law signed by President Bush.
Pro-life groups supported the bill during the House committee hearing, WBAL-TV reported.
Nancy Fortier of the Maryland Catholic Conference told lawmakers, "She needs recognition of her loss, and right now, when a pregnant woman is attacked and the baby is killed but the woman survives, she’s told by police they are very sorry but they can’t prosecute for the loss of her unborn child."
Abortion advocates oppose the bill, however, because it would recognize an unborn child as a person under criminal law. They say that could be used to stop legal abortions, though that hasn’t occurred in other states with similar measures on the books.
Last year, the Maryland Senate voted to kill similar legislation on a narrow 25-22 vote.
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.
Related web sites:
Maryland State Legislature – https://mlis.state.md.us