Oregon May Debate Unborn Victims Law Following Killing of Pregnant Mom, Baby

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 10, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oregon May Debate Unborn Victims Law Following Killing of Pregnant Mom, Baby

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 10
, 2009

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group wants the Oregon legislature to debate a bill that would put in unborn victims law in place following the killing of a pregnant mother and her unborn baby. Oregon is one of just over a dozen states that don’t offer full protection and justice for mothers and their unborn babies.

Some 35 states and federal law recognize that two victims exist when a criminals kills or injures both mother and unborn child, but Oregon law allows just one charge for the death of or injury to the mother.

The recent incident involves the murder of Heather Snively, a 21-year-old pregnant woman, and her unborn baby.

Oregon Right to Life, which is pressing for a new law calls the fact that prosecutors can’t hold the alleged killer, Korena Elaine Roberts, accountable for two crimes a "injustice in Oregon’s law."

"Both Heather and her unborn baby died from the attack but under Oregon law the District Attorney can not charge Roberts with the murder of the baby unless it is proven that the baby took a breath of air before dying," the group told LifeNews.com Wednesday.

Senator Bruce Starr, a Republican from Hillsboro, has requested a bill that will allow separate murder charges for the killing of an unborn child during a criminal act.

"There is no doubt that there are two victims, two crimes and two instances where justice must be served,” said Starr. “The family of Heather Snively and her son John Stephens will always grieve for two, and the law should recognize that two lives were ended on Friday, not just one.”

Oregon Right to Life notes that, in 2005, the Oregon Legislature considered a similar bill that passed in the House with bi-partisan support but was refused a vote in the Senate.

The group is urging pro-life advocates to contact lawmakers urging support for a bill because the state legislature is scheduled to adjourn within days.

"Oregon Right to Life strongly supports its passage because it achieves pro-life purposes that are worthwhile in their own right," the group said. That includes "protection of unborn children from acts of violence other than abortion" and "the recognition that unborn children may be victims of such violent criminal acts."

"Oregonians must act now, if the bill has any chance of becoming law," the group says.

An autopsy has been performed on 21-year-old Heather Snively, who officials found in the crawl space of her home on Friday.

The autopsy indicates Snively was killed following "blunt force” and "sharp force” injuries and they suspect 27-year-old Korena Elaine Roberts is behind the attack.

Police found Snively’s body but not that of her unborn child and when Roberts began calling a mysterious baby as hers, doctors suspected foul play.

Officials found Snively’s body several hours after hospital officials indicated a baby about the same age was presented at a local hospital. Roberts had called paramedics claiming problems following a supposed birth.

Snively’s family said she loved her unborn baby and was looking forward to his birth. She had planned to name her baby John Stephen, according to a Charleston Daily Mail report and had recently moved from West Virginia to Oregon to be with her boyfriend.

ACTION: Go to https://www.leg.state.or.us to find contact information for your state lawmakers and urge strong support for the unborn victims bill sponsored by Senator Bruce Starr.

Related web sites:
Oregon Right to Life – https://www.ortl.org

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