by Steven Ertelt
March 28, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — The Kansas state Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would allow two charges when a criminal kills both a pregnant mother and her unborn child in an act of violence. Current state law doesn’t allow prosecutors to hold attackers accountable for both crimes.
The state House has already approved the measure and the Senate followed suit Wednesday with a vote after a legislative panel refused to hold a hearing on the bill.
A final vote on the measure is expected today and it will return to the House for a concurrence vote should the Senate give it a final approval.
The bill is known as Alexa’s Law and is named after teenager Chelsea Brooks and her baby Alexa who were both 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," Terri Brooks, Chelsea’s mother, said recently. "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."
The state Senate defeated the bill twice before 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.