Texas Court Again Upholds Unborn Victims Law Protecting Women, Unborn Babies
by Steven Ertelt
June 30, 2010
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas court has again upheld a pro-life law that offers both protection of and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children who are victims of violent crimes. The law allows prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they kill or injure both mother and child.
Texas’ Prenatal Protection Act passed in the state legislature in 2003 and it was inspired by the deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson.
Since then, criminals have been successfully convicted of crimes of homicide for taking the lives of unborn children.
In another victory for the law, the state’s highest criminal court unanimously upheld the conviction of a San Antonio man for murdering a pregnant girl and her thirteen-week-old unborn child.
In its opinion, delivered on June 16, the nine-member Texas Court of Criminal Appeals relied heavily on an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief submitted by Texas Alliance for Life.
The Court noted that Roe v. Wade permits states to criminalize the homicide of an unborn child so long as the law does not restrict the mother’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
"Once again the legal personhood of the unborn child has been upheld in Texas so that our legislature can protect mothers and unborn babies from violent crimes," says Joe Pojman, the head of Texas Alliance for Life. "Although the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade opinion forbids Texas from protecting unborn children from abortion, we believe the Prenatal Protection Act creates a foothold for someday overturning Roe."
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. Estrada was the Texas man who became the second person convicted under the state’s unborn victims law.
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.
This is the fourth time the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the Prenatal Protection Act and the third time TAL has submitted a brief to that court. In each case, the Court’s opinion was consistent with the arguments in TAL’s brief.
Some 36 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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