Oregon Will Likely Fail to Protect Pregnant Women From Violence
by Steven Ertelt
August 4, 2005
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — The Oregon legislature will likely fail to offer additional protection for pregnant women and their unborn children. The state House has rejected a bill that acknowledges only one victim when pregnant mothers are attacked and a two-victim bill will not get a vote in the Senate.
The state House Wednesday rejected a one-victim bill from the Senate that calls for the death penalty for any criminal who attacks and kills a pregnant woman.
Pro-life lawmakers opposed the bill because it fails to acknowledge the injury or death to an unborn child and contains provisions that would make it very difficult for prosecutors to charge such criminals.
Meanwhile, opponents of the death penalty were concerned about the Senate’s amendment to require the death penalty for criminals who attack pregnant women.
After the voting, the House sent the bill to a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. However The Oregonian newspaper reports that the committee won’t likely meet.
That means the state legislature will end the session without protecting pregnant women.
Pro-life groups support a two victim bill and are pointing to the murder of Kerry Michele Repp as a reason to pass it. Repp was 29 year-old and three months pregnant when she was shot and killed last May. Her unborn child also died.
However, the legislation, approved by the state House, is not planned for a vote in the Senate because Senate leaders claim the bill would prevent legal abortions. That hasn’t happened in 32 other states with similar laws.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wayne Krieger, told the Oregon he’s disappointed that the two-victim bill stalled in the Senate.
"Oregon law should protect both the pregnant woman and her unborn child," he said. "The only reason to increase the penalty is that second life."
The House tried a second time to protect both mother and baby when they voted to add language to the bill defining an unborn child as a human being under the state’s homicide statues. That would allow prosecutors to file a charge against criminals for the death of the unborn child in any attack on a pregnant mother.
Without a conference committee meeting, the bill, with that language, will die.
Related web sites:
Oregon Right to Life – https://www.ortl.org