North Carolina Families Tell State Legislature to Approve New Unborn Victims Bill
by Steven Ertelt
May 7, 2009
Raleigh, NC (LifeNews.com) — Three families of murder victims told members of the North Carolina legislature on Wednesday that they support HB 890, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. The families said the bill is needed to bring them justice when their loved ones — a pregnant woman and her unborn child — are killed or injured in violent crimes.
North Carolina, unlike 36 other states, does not have a law on the books allowing prosecutors to charge defendants with killing or injuring the unborn child when they attack a pregnant woman.
Although the culprit may serve jail time for the death of or injury to the mother, there is no punishment and no justice for the crime committed against the baby.
Michele Dye, Kevin Blaine, and Effie Steele were among those urging the legislature to support the bill.
Dye, whose daughter and the unborn child she was carrying were both brutally murdered in Gaston County, called upon House Judiciary Chair Deborah Ross and Speaker Joe Hackney to allow the Unborn Victims Bill 890 a proper hearing in the Judiciary committee, followed by a debate and recorded vote on the House floor.
Blaine, of Holly Springs, is the father of Jennifer (Jenna) Nielsen.
Jenna, whose murderer has not yet been apprehended, was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with her unborn son, Ethen, when, on June 14, 2007, they were both murdered in Raleigh, while on her early morning newspaper delivery route.
Effie Steele, of Durham, is the mother of murdered victim Ebony Robinson, and the grandmother to her beloved grandson, Elijah, whom Ebony was carrying when she was murdered.
Ebony was only 21 when she was shot and murdered in Hillsborough. Her unborn son, Elijah, would have been born only two short weeks later. Ebony and Elijah, whose pictures were displayed at the press conference, were laid to rest in two separate caskets.
We don’t know if Elijah would have been a president, a doctor, an attorney, or a teacher because he was not given that chance. But most of all, he could have been a contributing member of society if he had been given the chance to enter this world and make his mark in history," Steele said.
"I felt betrayed and robbed when the murderer of Ebony and Elijah was not charged with double homicide and was not made to pay for the life of my grandson. He should have been charged with and punished with two life sentences without the possibility of parole instead of the one he received, Steele told legislators.
North Carolina Right to Life tells LifeNews.com that it strongly supports the bill and the pleas of the families.
In a statement, the group said, "North Carolina Right to Life recognizes that these families have suffered a horrific loss of not just one, but two loved and cherished individuals in their immediate families due to acts of senseless violence."
The pro-life group said it "stands alongside them in their courageous efforts to pass HB 890. As the victims families argued today, public policy should reflect the loss of two victims, not just one."
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