by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2006
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would offer additional protection and justice to pregnant women and their unborn children in cases of violence against them has moved forward. Lawmakers in a state House committee gave the measure their approval and it’s now headed to the House floor for a vote and debate.
The bill would make Alaska the next state to allow prosecutors to charge criminals who attack a pregnant woman and kill oor injure her unborn children with a second crime.
However, as they have elsewhere, abortion advocates are coming out against the pro-woman legislation saying it could be used a tool later on to declare that unborn children should have more rights.
Sen. Fred Dyson, an Anchorage Republican, is the sponsor of the measure, which would say the unborn baby is a separate person under law in such assault and homicide cases. As found in statutes in other states, the bill says it does not apply to abortion or cases in which a doctor is normally treating a pregnant woman.
"The bill before you today establishes that a wanted unborn child has a worth of its own," he told the Finance Committee, according to an AP report.
However, Planned Parenthood Alaska executive director Clover Simon, trashed the bill and said it was an attack on abortion, even though similar bills in other states have not been used to do that.
"As part of a national trend, this is designed to erode the foundation of the woman’s right to choose as set forward in Roe v. Wade," she claimed.
Alaska Right to Life executive director Karen Lewis countered that Simon’s claims are wrong and that her group opposed any amendments saying the baby is not a second victim, AP reported.
"It would negate the intent of the bill, which is the protection of the smallest, most vulnerable member of humanity," she said.
Some 21 states have laws similar to Dyson’s bill and another 12 protect pregnant women and unborn children in the later stages of pregnancy.
The House Finance Committee signed off on the legislation, SB 20, on an 8-3 vote.
Related web sites:
Alaska state legislature – https://www.legis.state.ak.us