Texas Man Convicted of Attacking Pregnant Woman Challenges Unborn Victims Law
by Steven Ertelt
October 7, 2009
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas man who became the second person convicted under the state’s unborn victims law is challenging the pro-woman, pro-life statute in court. The law allows two charges when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman and kills her unborn child.
Adrian Estrada, 23, was convicted in February 2007 of one count of capital murder for the death of Stephanie Sanchez and her baby, whom he fathered.
Sanchez, 17, was three months pregnant on December 12, 2005, when her body was found in her family’s home. She had been choked and stabbed 13 times by Estrada.
During the trial, DNA evidence was presented to show Estrada was the father and he later admitted to the killings.
Since Texas’ Prenatal Protection Act passed in 2003, which was inspired by the deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson, numerous criminals have been successfully convicted of crimes of homicide for taking the lives of unborn children.
"Every time a case has been appealed, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, has upheld those convictions," Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, told LifeNews.com today.
But, today, the appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the challenge made by Estrada.
Pojman’s group filed a friend-of-the-court brief to defend the law, as it has in two other cases.
"We believe that this law helps to protect unborn children and their mothers from violent crimes," he said. "Because of this remarkable law, in Texas an unborn child is a legally a person."
In 2003, pro-life Governor Rick Perry signed into law the Prenatal Protection Act, which Pojman calls a landmark bill to recognize the personhood of unborn children and protect them from violent crimes of assault and homicide.
For the first time in the history of Texas, the criminal law included "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth."
That is important because it provides at least some recognition and legal protection for unborn children that fosters the kind of respect for life missing in the abortion debate.
Some 35 states have unborn victims laws protecting pregnant women and unborn children with 25 of those protecting throughout pregnancy and 10 providing partial protection.
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