On Sunday, I awoke to the sad news that Ashley Moser, the pregnant mother critically wounded in the Aurora cineplex, has not only lost her 6 years old daughter but suffered a miscarriage. She has yet to be told about the death of her daughter. The newscaster erroneously claimed that an additional homicide charge may be brought against James Holmes.
The newscaster, like so many people, believes that fetal homicide charges can be brought in cases such as the Aurora shootings. Last March, the Colorado House passed a fetal homicide law, only to have Democrats in the state Senate block the measure from coming to a floor vote.
As a result, fetal homicide charges cannot be brought against James Holmes for causing the death of Ashley Moser’s unborn child in Colorado – or New York and 14 other states.
It’s hard to believe that California is ahead of New York when it comes to criminal prosecutions regarding unborn children as a second victim, when their pregnant mothers are killed or injured.
Thirty-five states and federal law provide protection and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children who become victims of violence. Since 2006, four states have enacted fetal homicide laws.
Statistics show that domestic violence increases during pregnancy and that homicide has now become a leading cause of death among pregnant women.
It is estimated that one in five women will be physically abused during pregnancy. For an increasing number of women, rather than pregnancy being a peaceful time of preparation and growth of a healthy child, it can be a time of violence, grief and loss.
Since 2005, there have been several horrific cases involving violence against pregnant women. Naisha De Lain, Marilyn Ginel and their unborn children were killed in the ninth month of their pregnancies.
When a woman makes a conscious decision to have her baby and that choice is violently taken away from her (as happened in Colorado), justice demands that the assailant be punished.
Mothers may bury their baby’s body – or the cases of Naisha DeLain and Marilyn Ginel, the babies are laid to rest in their arms – mark the grave and grieve for their child for the rest of their lives, yet New York law says their loved one never existed.
Opponents, such as NARAL and NOW-NYS, claim that the measure weakens the abortion rights of women. These claims are simply untrue.
Courts have ruled that while Roe v. Wade protects the woman’s right of choice it does not protect, much less confer on an assailant, a third-party right to harm an unborn child.
This legislation cannot be applied to any abortion to which a woman has consented, or to any act of the mother herself, or to any form of medical treatment.
An unborn victims of violence act simply protects the affirmative right of a woman who intends to carry her child to term. Nothing could be more “pro-choice.”
There is a moral obligation to ensure that those who harm children are brought to justice. Therefore, we should not let purposeful vicious acts directed against unborn children continue to go unpunished.
Democratic New York and Colorado lawmakers must support a fetal homicide as fervently as they are demanding action on new gun control measures. They can no longer criticize Second Amendment supporter as gun zealots, yet remain blind to their own sanctimonious regard for Roe v. Wade.
I believe the families of Ashley Moser, Naisha De Lain and Marilyn Ginel deserve justice and recognition for their murdered unborn grandchildren.
Michael Benjamin sponsored fetal homicide legislation when he served in the NY state assembly.