by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2007
Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — New Hampshire state legislators have proposed legislation that would protect pregnant women and their unborn children from acts of violence. The measure would charge criminals with two crimes when they attack a pregnant women and kill or injure her unborn child.
Rep. James Garrity and several other lawmakers proposed House Bill 177 which would amend the state’s murder and manslaughter statutes to include unborn children.
New Hampshire law currently only has a hate crime or enhanced penalty for attacking a pregnant woman but attackers are not charged with the death of or injury to the baby.
Some 34 states have laws like the one in California used to prosecute Scott Peterson for the murders of both Laic and Connor, his wife and child. Of those, 24 protect mothers and children throughout pregnancy.
"It actually introduces a moral challenge: to declare that this victim is an unborn child, it’s a person," Garrity told the Eagle Tribune newspaper.
He sees the bill as helping provide more punishment for criminals but Laura Thibault, executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire claims it’s just an effort to attack abortion.
"I certainly think that this particular type of legislation is part of a nationwide strategy … to limit the rights of pregnant women," she told the newspaper.
Similar bills have been proposed in previous legislative sessions and they have not advanced through the legislature.