Wyoming Pregnant Woman, Unborn Baby Die, Case Highlights Need for Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wyoming Pregnant Woman, Unborn Baby Die, Case Highlights Need for Law

November 19, 2008

Cheyenne, WY (LifeNews.com) — A pregnant Cheyenne woman and her unborn child were killed on October 30 in an automobile accident that pro-life advocates say points to the need for a state unborn victims law.

The man allegedly responsible for the accident will only be held accountable for killing Brenda Collins-Newman and not for taking the life of her child.

Collins-Newman was killed when an apparently drunken Ronald Smith of Torrington hit her vehicle head on. Although news reports don’t indicate how far along the pregnancy was, Brenda had already planned to name her baby boy Cian Charles.

John Robinson, chief deputy attorney for Converse County, only has the ability to charge Smith with one count of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Steven Ertelt, the president of Right to Life of Wyoming, said that’s not acceptable.

"Obviously, two people were victimized that afternoon as both Brenda and her unborn son Cian lost their lives," Ertelt said. "For Wyoming statutes to not hold Mr. Smith accountable for both of their deaths is unconscionable."

Ertelt said Wyoming could have had a law on the books to provide justice for both mother and child in some cases like this one, but Governor Dave Freudenthal vetoed the bill.

Senator John Barrasso sponsored the bill, SF 118, which would have allowed county attorneys like Robinson to bring a second charge for killing the unborn child, but Freudenthal vetoed the bill. The bill would have applied in cases when the criminal knew the mother was pregnant, which isn’t possible in this incident.

"Although this tragic accident wouldn’t have been covered under the bill, this case points to the need to protect women and unborn children and provide them with proper justice when they’re victimized," Ertelt said.

"Shamefully, Governor Freudenthal vetoed a bill that would have been a first step in remedying this problem and giving people like Brenda and her baby Cian the justice they deserve," he added.

Right to Life of Wyoming will be working with state legislators to pursue an unborn victims law during the next legislative session.

Currently, 35 states have similar laws on the books and 25 of them apply throughout pregnancy.

Collins-Newman and her unborn child Cian reportedly died at the scene.

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