Indiana Committee Approves Unborn Victims Bill: Justice for Women and Babies
by Steven Ertelt
March 25, 2009
Indianapoilis, IN (LifeNews.com) — An Indiana state House committee today approved a bill that would put stiffer penalties in place for criminals who kill or injure a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Current state law allows two charges for the death of or injury to mother and child, but little justice for the baby if she is pre-viability.
The law allows two charges after the point of viability, but beforehand relies on a feticide law that only charges criminals with two to six years in prison for taking the unborn child’s life.
Only then is the attack considered a murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter and only then can prosecutors get involved.
The bill would help Indiana join 36 other states that already provide adequate protection and justice for both victims.
The House Public Policy Committee unanimously approved the measure, which ups the penalties under the state’s feticide law to six to 20 years.
The bill, which the Senate approved weeks ago on a 40-9 vote, also allows prosecution for the death of any baby "in utero," a term that covers all stages of the unborn child’s development. This would hold criminals accountable for killing an unborn baby at any point during the pregnancy.
The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration and a vote.
The measure was introduced after a local Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi complained he was unable to fully prosecute a case from 2008 involving a pregnant woman who was in her fifth month of pregnancy. The robber shot Katherin Shuffield and the twin babies she was carrying died after the incident.
Mike Fichter, the executive director of the pro-life group Indiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com previously that the law needed to be changed.
"Prosecutor Brizzi is to be applauded for his immediate call to correct a serious flaw in Indianas feticide law that requires unborn children to be viable in order to trigger fetal homicide charges," he said.
"The viability requirement was originally put into the law through the pressure of abortion rights lobbyists who placed the protection of abortionists over common sense justice," he explained. "Sadly, it appears that it took a tragedy of this magnitude to finally close a glaring loophole that treats unborn children such as the Shuffield twins as if their lives have no real value."
Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life – https://indianarighttolife.org
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