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Colorado Senate Committee approves Unborn Victims of Violence bill

by | Apr 23, 2015

Spurred by attack on woman whose seven-month-old unborn baby was cut from her womb

By Dave Andrusko

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday took the first step in an attempt to rectify a gaping hole in the law in Colorado.

On a 3-2 vote, the Committee approved a bill that would recognize that when a pregnant woman is attacked and loses her baby, there are two victims. Thirty eight states have some version of an unborn victim of violence act. Most (29) extend that protection to the unborn throughout the entire period of pre-natal development.

Dynel Lane (credit: Longmont Police)

Dynel Lane (credit: Longmont Police)

Under SB 15-268, prosecutors could file a separate murder charge for the death of an unborn child. While pro-abortion politicians insist the measure is an backdoor attack on “abortion rights,” in fact the legislation is a response with widespread support to the March 18 attack by Dynel Lane on Michelle Wilkins in which Lane stabbed Wilkins and cut her 7-month-old baby out from her womb.

Wilkins survived but her baby died.

“That Coloradans have no way to hold the murderer responsible, or deliver justice for the victims, is a gap in Colorado’s justice system which can no longer be ignored,” said Senate President Bill Cadman. “This was a child. This child was murdered.”

But as NRL News Today reported, the coroner concluded the baby had not “exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth.” Thus Lane could not be charged with murder.

Supporters of the bill went the extra mile to make clear that the law would not change the abortion law. “It specifically says it does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child or a medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of a mother of her unborn child or the mother’s legal guardian,” according to the Denver Post’s John Frank.

But that didn’t stop Dr. Rebecca Cohen, a gynecologist, from saying, “It’s to take the rights away from women, not to help us.”

Even the resolutely pro-abortion editorial page of the Denver Post was conflicted.

Michelle Wilkins (credit: Wilkins Family)

Michelle Wilkins (credit: Wilkins Family)

In Colorado, an attacker who kills a fetus — even one viable outside the womb whom the mother fully intends to bring to term — faces a substantially lesser charge than if the child had been killed 1 minute after being born.

How can that be equitable?

Acknowledging that if pro-abortionists are able to kill the bill in the House, the editorial concludes

There ought to be a way to revise Colorado law so someone with ill intent who kills an unborn child can be charged with a crime equivalent to homicide without infringing on abortion rights.

“It is astonishing that many supporters of abortion still insist that when a woman is pregnant that there is only one living human being,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, director of NRLC’s Department of State Legislation. “Science — as do our own eyes! — puts that lie to rest.”

“SB 268 will bring justice to unborn babies who are injured or killed in violent crimes against their mother,” said Sarah Zagorski, executive director of Colorado Citizens for Life.

“Although Planned Parenthood and the ACLU argued that Colorado’s 2013 ‘Crimes Against Pregnant Women’ law, is sufficient for our state, it didn’t bring Michelle Wilkins or her baby Aurora the justice they deserve,” Zagorski added.

Lane, 34 and the mother of two, is being held on $2 million bond. She faces an unlawful termination of a pregnancy charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 32 years in prison.

The unsuspecting Wilkins was seven months pregnant when she answered a Craigslist ad for baby clothes. At some point after Wilkens arrived, Lane stabbed her several times in the stomach with a knife and a piece of broken glass, police said. Lane then cut Wilkins’s baby from her body.

According to the criminal complaint, Lane’s husband, David Ridley, was unaware of what his wife had done when he came home. She had told him she was pregnant and when he came home and saw her drenched in blood, Lane told her husband she had miscarried.

Ridley went upstairs and found the baby in the bathtub. He told police the baby was alive.

“He rubbed the baby slightly, then rolled it over to hear and see it take a gasping breath,” according to the complaint.

The arrest report states that Ridley rushed the baby and his wife to Longmont United Hospital where Lane was taken to the emergency room with the baby in her arms.

The arrest report states that Lane refused to let the hospital staff examine her. “The report states that she then ‘admitted’ to a police officer ‘that she cut [the victim’s] abdomen open to remove,’” according to the Denver Post.

Meanwhile, Wilkins managed to place a 911 call. Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur “said officers arrived on the scene and could hear a woman calling for help inside the home,” the Post reported. “They entered and found the victim, who had been beaten and stabbed in the stomach with a knife.”

“She was barely conscious. It was very hard to keep her attention at the moment,” officer Billy Sawyer told CNN’s Erin Burnett. ”And she was covered in blood. It was one of the most horrific crime scenes I have seen.”

Nonetheless Wilkens was able to tell Sawyer what had happened to her. At that point, she did not know that she had lost her baby.