by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2008
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — For the second time, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a double murder conviction of a man who killed a pregnant women’s unborn children. The decision further validates the constitutionality of the state’s unborn victims law, which pro-life advocates fought for to give justice to women and unborn children.
The state’s Prenatal Protection Act authorizes prosecutors to charge attackers with two crimes instead of one when both mother and baby are attacked and killed or injured.
The case before the court involved a man who beat his pregnant girlfriend in order to kill a set of twins neither of them wanted. Erica Basoria lost her unborn sons after she asked her boyfriend, Gerardo Flores, to step on her stomach.
Flores was convicted of two counts of murder in the case but Basoria was not punished and authorities said the law was unconstitutional under equal protection considerations since she asked him to kill the babies.
Prosecutors told the court that evidence showed Basoria was abused and did not make the request of Flores to kill the children.
The appeals court sided in favor of the law contending that the repeated stomping on Basoria’s stomach could not have been consensual and that Flores’ attorneys raised the equal protection claim well into the case rather than in the original trial.
Pro-life groups applauded the decision.
"The highest criminal court in Texas has again recognized that unborn children are individual persons worthy of protection from murder and assault the same as other persons already born," Texas Alliance for Life director Joe Pojman told LifeNews.com.
A previous case involved Terence Chadwick Lawrence, who dated Antwonyia Smith and another woman during the summer of 2004. Upon learning that Smith was pregnant with his child, he told the other girlfriend that he would "take care of" the problem.
He then shot Smith three times with a shotgun, causing her death and the death of her unborn baby, who was about five weeks along at the time.
Lawrence appealed the conviction to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas and finally to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which upheld the conviction in the case of Lawrence v. Texas.
"The Supreme Court has emphasized that states may protect human life not only once the fetus has reached viability but from the outset of the pregnancy," the court said. "The Legislature is free to protect the lives of those whom it considers to be human beings."
Attorneys for Lawrence claimed he shouldn’t be prosecuted for killing the woman’s baby because the unborn child wasn’t viable, but the court rejected that argument.
Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law in 2003 after the Texas legislature approved the bill with the support of TAL and other pro-life organizations in Texas.
Abortion advocates, including NARAL’s Texas affiliate and Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, objected to the measure protecting pregnant women and their unborn children.
Related web sites:
Texas Alliance for Life – https://www.texasallianceforlife.org