New Hampshire Passes Bill Providing Legal Protection for Unborn Babies Killed in Violent Crimes

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 1, 2017   |   5:16PM   |   Concord, New Hampshire

After years of failed attempts, New Hampshire lawmakers finally passed a bill this week to provide justice to unborn babies who are victims of non-abortion violence.

The Union Leader reports the unborn victims of violence bill passed the state House on Tuesday in a narrow 186-170 vote. Similar to laws in 38 other states, the bill would recognize unborn babies as second victims of violent crimes against them and their mothers, including murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide, the report states. The bill includes an exception for abortions.

Previous attempts to pass an unborn victims of violence bill failed in New Hampshire in 2015 and 2012, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

The bill, which now heads back to the Senate to concur with an amendment and then on to Gov. Chris Sununu, contains an exemption for abortion, a guarantee against any prosecution of a mother, and can’t be invoked until after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Sununu has indicated his intention to sign the bill.

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“The fetal homicide bill is about justice for women. That’s what that bill is about,” he said after the Senate passed the bill along party lines in February, with all Democrats voting against.

Sununu, who ran as a pro-choice Republican, said the bill “has nothing to do with being pro-choice or pro-life.”

“It provides security and addresses injustice for women who may have been in abusive situations or situations that resulted in the death of a fetus,” he said.

State lawmakers nicknamed the legislation “Griffin’s Bill” after a late-term unborn baby boy who died as a result of a vehicle accident in 2013 in North Strafford, New Hampshire. According to the report, Griffin’s mother, Ashlyn Rideout, was seven months pregnant with him when the accident, caused by a driver who ran a stop sign, led to her son’s death. Rideout survived.

Because there were no laws in place that recognized Griffin as a second victim in the accident, the driver did not face any charges related to the boy’s death, the report states.

A few states still do not provide justice for unborn victims of violence. In 2015, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill to protect unborn victims in their state.

The bill was prompted by a gruesome crime involving Dynel Catrece Lane, who was arrested and later convicted for attacking a pregnant woman and cutting her 7-month-old unborn baby from her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, the baby died but the mother, Michelle Wilkins, survived.

In 2016, a judge sentenced Lane to 100 years of prison for assaulting and attempting to murder Wilkins, but Lane did not face charges for Wilkins’ unborn daughter’s death.