by Steven Ertelt
January 30, 2007
Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — Pregnant women like Amanda Hanson and their unborn children who are killed in acts of violence still won’t receive appropriate justice under Colorado law. That’s because the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee killed an unborn victims bill that would have allowed two murder charges when both mother and baby are killed.
Amanda was strangled in 2002 and Erin Hanson appeared before the committee on her daughter’s behalf.
She wore a T-shirt with Amanda’s photo on it and asked for justice for the death of both her daughter and unborn grandson. The attacker received life in prison for Amanda’s death but was not charged in the death of her unborn child.
Hanson said her unborn grandson "had as much a right to life as she did" when her pregnant daughter Amanda Lynn was murdered.
"His life was intentionally taken," she said.
"Another woman’s going to die, and that woman’s going to be pregnant, and her killer’s not going to be charged with two counts of first degree murder," she added.
Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican, was one of the panel members who supported the bill and told his colleagues that "The baby was not an asterisk."
However, Senator Morse moved to kill the bill and the committee backed the motion on a 4-3 vote with Democrats voted against the pro-woman measure and Republicans supporting it.
Senators Bob Bacon, Betty Boyd, John Morse and Brandon Shaffer voted to kill the unborn victims measure while Mitchell and Sens. Scott Renfroe and Steve Ward supported it.
Last year, members of the House Judiciary Committee killed a similar bill on a party line vote.
Sen. Dave Schultheis, a Colorado Springs Republican who was the main sponsor of the bill, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that the bill is not an abortion related measure and shouldn’t be opposed by abortion advocates, even though they are campaigning against it.
“It’s basically not an abortion law one way or the other,” Schultheis said.
“Everyone should be concerned about what is happening to greater and greater numbers of pregnant women,” Schultheis added. “We’ve got to deal with that in a strong way and let the public know it’s not going to be tolerated.”
Showing the need for the bill, the legislators point to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which says more than 1,300 pregnant women in the United States were killed from 1990 to 2004
They also cite a study the American Journal of Public Health published in 2005 showing homicide is the second most common cause of death for pregnant women.
Abortion frequently plays a factor in such deaths because a boyfriend or husband who doesn’t want to become a father pressures his partner to have an abortion. After refusing, that confrontation over what to do about the pregnancy can lead to a physical altercation resulting in an assault of the mother or her death.
In October 2003, Colorado prosecutors were upset that they could not charge a man in the death of an unborn child because the state has no law that allows prosecutors to hold him responsible.
Daniel Self, 46, was charged with killing a pregnant woman but couldn’t be charged in the death of her unborn son. At a hearing, District Judge Gil Martinez dismissed a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
Leah Gee, Self’s girlfriend, died two days after she was shot and her son was delivered by doctors via Caesarian section. He died two weeks later from complications.
Currently 34 states have some kind of law to hold criminals accountable for two crimes in assaults against pregnant mothers and their unborn children and 24 of those protect mother and child throughout pregnancy.
ACTION: Contact the legislators who voted on the bill and express your opinion. You can find contact information at this web site.
Related web sites:
Colorado State Legislature – https://www.leg.state.co.us