CRTL Battle to Pass an Abortion-Neutral Fetal Homicide Law

January 2013 UPDATE: Rep. Janak Joshi introduced the identical single-sentence bill (see below) and it was killed in committee on a party-line 7-to-4 vote. After the hearing, CRTL joined with our allies Personhood Colorado and Heather Survoik in announcing the citizens initiative for the Brady Amendment to protect all unborn children. (Please see the Brady Project.)

July 2012 UPDATE: Colorado's abortion industry fights to prevent our prosecutors from seeking justice for the families of unborn children killed by criminals. While CRTL would never support a fetal homicide bill that affirms decriminalized abortion, we also have strongly supported the single-sentence abortion-neutral fetal crimes bill below. Colorado's three most high-profile cases where criminals have killed unborn children are:

Aurora 2012: Ashley Moser's unborn baby, the sibling to the youngest victim in the Aurora murders, has died
Longmont 2012: Heather Surovik's baby "Calling him a 'fetus' is offensive to our family."
Denver 2011: Lori Gorham's eight-month old baby was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
 
Grand Junction 2007:  Lileigh Lehnen died an hour after she was born. Colorado courts rejected the murder charge but contradicted themselves, not surprising in our abortion-confused world, by upholding other charges including "child abuse leading to death". So, Lileigh was a child but not a person.
 

April 2012 UPDATE: CRTL's Proposed Unborn Victims of Crime Act was passed by the House but the Democratic-controlled State Senate tragically killed this single-sentence bill in committee:

"If the commission of any crime codified in this Title [18] or Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statutes is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species Homo sapiens, the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury may be brought contemporaneously with the underlying charges."

No Need To Further Define "Unborn Member": Pro-abortion critics mock those advocating for protection for unborn children claiming that our laws would define skin cells, sperm, or even kidney stones as persons, but of course this is simply obfuscation. The above language sufficiently identifies the unborn child because only a child is eventually "born." Other organs or cells may be removed from the body but they are not "born." Only a child is "born." Thus an "unborn member" of the human family refers to the little person (biologically speaking, the organism) in mom's womb who eventually could be "born" unless miscarried (natural death) or killed (homicide).

2011 Unborn Victims of Crime Act

Representative Mark Waller's 16-page Crimes Against an Unborn Child Act was itself a crime against the unborn child. Colorado Right To Life had provided Rep. Waller with an abortion-neutral Unborn Victims of Crime Act (UVCA) fetal crimes bill, and after he turned that down we negotiated with the Colorado Springs pro-life Republican and urged him to consider a single-sentence concept. Instead, he introduced a bill supported by the abortion industry. Our guest column in the Colorado Springs Gazette explains what happened:

Colorado Springs Gazette Guest Column
CRTL Lobbied for an Abortion Neutral Bill

March 26, 2011, Gazette.com (also published in The Colorado Statesman)

A Gazette editorial (“Abortion foes sell out the unborn,” Mar. 11) reports that Rep. Mark Waller pulled his fetal crimes bill because “the opposition was insurmountable,” in that “Colorado Right to Life and American Right to Life opposed the bill.”

For months Colorado RTL vigorously negotiated with our legislators to pass an abortion-neutral fetal crimes bill to bring justice to the unborn victims of criminals. The media in Colorado has suggested the opposite, that the personhood movement opposes justice for such unborn victims unless abortion is also immediately banned. This is false.

Rep. Waller proposed a 16-page bill replete with abortion politics that we think should have been replaced with this neutral, single-sentence bill written for Colorado RTL by a county prosecutor:

If the commission of any crime codified in Title 18 of the Colorado Criminal Code is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development, the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury may be brought contemporaneously with the underlying charges.

When Planned Parenthood dismembers an unborn child, sadly, Colorado’s criminal code does not see that as a crime. Therefore this proposed legislation is strictly abortion neutral. It only empowers prosecutors to bring charges when a Title 18 crime is committed.

But rather than introduce abortion-neutral legislation, Rep. Waller’s HB 1256 had significant support for legalized abortion. It seems that Waller was confused about who his constituency was. He became more eager to please the abortion industry than those fighting to protect unborn children. In a bill designed to bring justice for fetal victims, unlike our neutral wording above, Waller’s bill explicitly stated that it is lawful to kill the unborn child by a medical procedure. And with the recent media reports of gross malpractice by some abortionists, Waller’s bill is so supportive of abortion that it could even aid those selling back-alley abortions who could then not be charged with “unlawful termination of pregnancy,” as long as “the pregnant woman’s consent is implied.”

So far from being abortion neutral, HB 1256 would even have put an anti-personhood precedent into Colorado law. Waller’s bill stated, “Nothing in this article 3.5 shall be construed to confer the status of ‘person’ upon a human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any stage of development prior to live birth.” Of course Colorado’s “pro-choice” Supreme Court justices would use this as a “sense of the legislature” precedent to rule against personhood whenever convenient.

Rep. Waller squandered the tremendous political capital of the millions of Coloradans who want to enable prosecutors to charge criminals who also hurt unborn children. Eventually Focus on the Family, the Christian Family Alliance, and Colorado’s Catholic Bishops, like Colorado RTL, all worked to stop Waller’s bill. Waller should have put the onus on the abortionists.

If this pro-life representative had introduced an abortion-neutral bill, he would have brought enormous pressure to bear against the abortion industry, which would have opposed a bill that didn’t include abortion guarantees. Instead they even got a bonus in the anti-personhood wording.

The practical outcome of Rep. Waller’s effort was for him to make the pro-life community look unreasonable and for Planned Parenthood to look moderate, even though we supported a neutral bill and they did not.

The lesson to learn from this for pro-life politicians is that they should remember which constituency they’re most trying to help, and that should be the unborn child.

Leslie Hanks
Vice President
Colorado Right To Life.
leslieforlife@gmail.com

 

PLEASE support Colorado RTL! To win this war requires leadership, right judgment, pragmatism (knowing what actually works) and courage. Please help CRTL fight by giving financial support right now! We need everyone to help, No Exceptions 

Colorado Right To Life, 1535 Grant Street, Suite 303, Denver, Colorado, 80203
office@ColoradoRTL.org  303-753-9394

DONATE TODAY!

 

 

Prior to the above Gazette column running, CRTL published this...

Legislative Notice

Rep. Mark Waller's 16-page "Crimes Against an Unborn Child" Act
Was  Itself a Crime Against The Unborn Child


Colorado Right To Life proposes a one-sentence legislative solution to Colorado's need to punish criminals, other than abortionists, who injure or kill an unborn child, for example, from a drunk-driving crash. Working with a county prosecutor, CRTL has suggested a single-sentence concept to Rep. Mark Waller and other state legislators, suggesting they introduce legislation along these lines:

CRTL's Single-Sentence Solution: "If the commission of any crime codified in Title 18 of the Colorado Criminal Code is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development, the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury may be brought contemporaneously with the underlying charges."

Instead, Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Mark Waller has rejected this approach and has sponsored House Bill 11-1256, a 16-page monstrosity that has specific anti-personhood wording and would also codify in Colorado law that there is no crime if the unborn child is intentionally slaughtered by a medical procedure (i.e., an abortion).

Rep. Waller's H.B. 11-1256 states at 18-3.5-101 (5) "UNLAWFUL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY" MEANS THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY BY ANY MEANS OTHER THAN BIRTH OR A MEDICAL PROCEDURE [i.e., abortion], INSTRUMENT, AGENT, OR DRUG, FOR WHICH THE CONSENT OF THE PREGNANT WOMANHAS BEEN OBTAINED


Colorado Right To Life has made it clear repeatedly to Colorado's "Republican" (or RINO, Republican in Name Only) legislators, and through the media, that the personhood movement (our 250,000 signatures from registered voters) will support a principled fetal crimes bill even if it completely ignores abortion, as long as it does not put into our law that it is permissible to intentionally kill even a single child. Yet to get the following wording, buried on page 11 of the bill, representative Waller, who claims to be pro-life, must have gone directly to Planned Parenthood:

Rep. Waller's H.B. 11-1256 also sates at 18-3.5-109. NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE 3.5 SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO CONFER THE STATUS OF "PERSON" UPON A HUMAN EMBRYO, FETUS, OR UNBORN CHILD AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT PRIOR TO LIVE BIRTH.


Waller has virtually conceded the battle with the liberal, godless, left-wing abortion industry. But he seems to have stood tall for the optometrics lobby, for buried within Waller's sixteen pages is a guarantee that an optometrist cannot be prosecuted for unlawful termination of pregnancy. Really.

The prosecutor who worked with CRTL to propose the above single-sentence instead of Rep. Waller's 16 pages understands the principle of the right to life bestowed on every living human being by our Creator. Colorado RTL's job now is to spread that knowledge to even our own "pro-life" legislators and other social and religious leaders so that pro-life action will mean actual progress and not major concessions to tax-and-spend, Obama-care, anti-life left-wing liberals. It would be far better for Colorado Springs' Republican Mark Waller to fail at passing legislation this time around, rather than for him to give aid and comfort to the abortion industry.

To win this war requires leadership, right judgment, pragmatism (knowing what actually works) and courage. Please help CRTL fight by giving financial support right now! We need everyone to help, No Exceptions 

Colorado Right To Life, 1535 Grant Street, Suite 303, Denver, Colorado, 80203
office@ColoradoRTL.org  303-753-9394

DONATE TODAY!