Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed another pro-life bill into law this month, one that will protect unborn babies who die as a result of violence against their mothers.
State Senate File 96 passed the legislature by an overwhelming majority in March. On April 6, Gordon signed it into law, creating first- and second-degree murder charges for anyone who commits violence against a pregnant mother that results in the death of her unborn child, Oil City News reports.
State Sen. Lynn Hutchings, R-Laramie County, a lead sponsor of the bill, said she knows the horrific violence all too well. She said one of her cousins was murdered by a spouse while pregnant many years ago.
“… my heart goes out to the families across Wyoming and the country who have been affected by violent crime. I know the deep sorrow and pain it leaves with their loved ones,” she said in a statement Thursday.
Hutchings said the law ensures that justice will be served for mothers and unborn babies.
“There are two victims in violent crimes against pregnant women—the mother and the child,” she continued. “This law recognizes the human life of unborn children and affords them equal justice under the law. If a child in the womb is killed in an act of violence, it will now be punishable as what it is, murder, rather than a footnote to a crime.”
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Wyoming is the 39th state to enact legislation that protects unborn victims of violence. According to National Right to Life, these states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. However, New York repealed its fetal homicide law in 2019 when it passed a radical pro-abortion law.
Federally, the U.S. also has a law that recognizes unborn babies who are victims of federal and military crimes.
Violence against pregnant women is disturbingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, homicide accounts for one in five deaths among pregnant women. In some cases, women are killed by abusive partners after they refuse to have abortions.
Hutchings said the law shows that Wyoming values every human life.
“It sends a strong and unmistakable message to those who would do harm to a pregnant woman that they will be held to justice for their crimes, not only against the mother but also against the child,” she said.
Earlier this month, Wyoming also passed a law that prohibits taxpayer-funded colleges and universities from paying for abortions or insurance coverage of abortions.