DENVER -- State Republican legislators introduced a bill in the state Senate on Tuesday that would make the killing of a fetus a homicide in certain cases.
The bill was inspired by the case of Michelle Wilkins, the Longmont woman who was seven months pregnant when police said she responded to an ad on Craigslist for baby clothes on March 18 and the seller, Dynel Lane, attacked her, opened her womb and took the baby girl, leaving Wilkins bleeding in the basement.
Lane allegedly took the unborn fetus to Longmont United, saying she had miscarriage. The baby did not survive. Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said his office could not seek a murder charge against Lane under current Colorado law.
The bill that was introduced Tuesday would define an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception to live birth as a person for the purposes of homicide and assault offenses.
But the law says it would not apply to “an act committed by the mother of her unborn child; 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; or the lawful dispensation or administration of lawfully prescribed medication.”
State voters turned down a fetal homicide law last year and earlier efforts failed in the state Legislature.
Republicans control the state Senate, while Democrats control the state House. Democrats have said a fetal homicide law, which is in effect in 38 other states, could be a way of taking away abortion rights.
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood said the bill is "dangerous for Colorado women."
"We are concerned that any law creating fetal 'personhood' will impact access to abortion services in Colorado, as well as open a door to allowing prosecution of pregnant women," Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado Vice President of Public Affairs Cathy Alderman said in a statement.
"The backers of SB15-268, by insisting that legislation be considered which establishes 'fetal personhood,' are once again ignoring the values and will of Colorado voters. ... Colorado does not need to follow the dangerous road of other states’ who are allowing politics and similar tragedies, to criminalize women and doctors."