by Steven Ertelt
February 19, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — The Kansas state House approved a bill on Monday that would provide further protection and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children who are victims of violence. The measure targets cases when mother and child are killed and injured in a violent attack.
The House voted 94 to 28 in favor of Alexa’s Law, which is named after the baby of a teenage girl was recently shot and killed.
The bill says that an unborn child can be considered a person under various murder and assault statutes. That allows prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes rather than one when they kill or injure both mother and child.
It allows charges to be brought forward when a baby is killed or injured at any point during pregnancy.
Abortion advocates oppose the bill because they don’t want to acknowledge the death of a baby before birth in any context.
The bill is a response to a specific case in Kansas. When teenager Chelsea Brooks and her baby Alexa were murdered, Chelsea’s family was disturbed to learn the state had no law charging the attacker with killing Alexa.
"I honestly didn’t think it would be such a challenge to get this point," says Terri Brooks, Chelsea’s mother. "I was very surprised Kansas didn’t have a fetal homicide law."
"You would think if we can pass laws to protect animals such as Scruffy’s law which makes it a felony to mistreat an animal….that we can pass a law to protect human life," father Darren Brooks added.
Chelsea’s pregnant body was found in Butler County. The alleged killer was charged only with the murder of Chelsea, an 8th grade student from Wichita.
The measure has the strong support of Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group.
“Even though it is too late for the Brooks family to receive prosecutorial justice, we applaud their courage in working to achieve passage of this bill, and for allowing their deceased granddaughter’s name to be memorialized in this way,” said Kathy Ostrowski, who lobbies for the group, told LifeNews.com.
"For too long, justice for the murder of a wanted child in Kansas has wrongly been held hostage by abortion and politics," Ostrowski said. "Now Kansas has a chance to have its legal system catch up with the rest of the nation."
Before a voice vote on the bill last week, the legislature turned back two amendments that would have weakened the law by saying there is only one victim, the mother, in such crimes.
This is the third time the House has approved the bill, but the state Senate defeated it in 2002 and 2005 when committees failed to take a vote on it.
Currently, 34 states have such a law and 24 of them protect pregnant women and their babies throughout pregnancy.
Kansas Rep. Steve Brunk, a Republican, hopes to add the state to the list and he’s obtained petitions with the support of nearly 8,000 people asking for the legislature to approve his legislation.