by Steven Ertelt
April 24, 2006
Titusville, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida grandmother is leading an effort to change state law to make sure pregnant women and their unborn children are protected from acts of violence throughout pernancy. Currently, Florida lets criminals get off with no punishment in they kill or injure an unborn child before viability in the course of an assault on the baby’s mother.
Donna Davis’ daughter Laura Ann was strangled in her home in January. The homicide resulted in the death of Laura Ann’s unborn child, a boy who would have given Donna a grandson.
David says two people died that day and before burying her daughter, she sang songs to the baby and placed him in his mother’s arms in the casket.
However, Florida law says just one person was a victim because the baby boy was not yet viable. Laura Ann was about five months pregnant at the time she was murdered.
"This was a woman that wanted her child," Donna Davis told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. "And this was a child that would have been born if my daughter hadn’t been killed."
Davis has put together a petition drive and contacted almost 100 state legislators to urge them to change state law to protect pregnant women and their babies throughout pregnancy.
However, her effort to protect women in running into opposition from abortion advocates who don’t want any laws to pass acknowledging the personhood of an unborn child, if it has nothing to do with the abortion debate.
Ironically, Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women in New York, opposes the measure to protect pregnant women in Florida. She told the newspaper that she can’t support "creating a separate crime that acts as though the fetus is separate when it’s not."
Lawmakers tell the Orlando Sentinel that Davis’ campaign is an uphill battle.
"Anytime you talk about the unborn, everybody in Tallahassee scatters," said state Sen. Bill Posey, who unsuccessfully sponsored a bill last year similar to the one Davis is seeking. "Abortion always becomes the focal point, and that’s why I couldn’t get any support."
That doesn’t deter Davis, who said she’ll fight for a law next year.
"I’ll keep talking until I’m 95 if I have to," she said.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 21 states protect pregnant women and their babies throughout pregnancy, including nearby Alabama, where Governor. Bob Riley signed its measure into law last week. Some 20 states only protect women and unborn children in the latter stages of pregnancy.
Florida law regards the intentional killing of an "unborn quick child" as murder, in the same degree as the homicide of the mother. Other provisions cover the killing of an "unborn quick child" as manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and DUI manslaughter, in other related deaths.
However, the term "unborn quick child" is the same as the term "viable fetus," which is defined in the following way: "… a fetus is viable when it becomes capable of meaningful life outside the womb through standard medical measures."