Fetal homicide bill defeated by Democrats not a Trojan horse for personhood, sponsor says
Original post, 11:59 a.m. January 29: Republicans and Democrats agree that there should be consequences for those who cause a woman to lose her pregnancy. But they disagree on how to make that happen. After defeating a Republican-backed bill that would have allowed someone to be punished for causing death or injury "to an unborn member of the species homo sapiens," House Democrats introduced their own bill -- which accomplishes the same end but doesn't confer personhood to a fetus.
The defeated bill was sponsored by Republican Representative Janak Joshi of Colorado Springs, who introduced a similar measure last year. Joshi's bill, HB 1032, says that if a crime is "the proximate cause" of death or injury to an unborn human, "the respective homicide and assault charges for that death or injury" may be brought against the suspect.
Opponents say Joshi's bill is a back-door way to make a fetus a "person" under the law. "That's the point behind it," Kevin Paul, an attorney for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said at a hearing on Joshi's bill yesterday. Paul called the bill's language "confusing."
Rep. Janak Joshi
A press release from House Democrats was even harsher, saying Joshi's bill was "a Trojan horse for personhood." The bill was quickly defeated in a party-line vote, with the four Republicans on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voting for it and the seven Democrats voting against it.
The Democrat-supported bill, HB 1154, was introduced later that afternoon. It creates a new category of crimes related to the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. (The crimes would not include abortion, which is legal.)
A law passed in 2003 already makes it a crime to intentionally cause a woman to lose her pregnancy. But it doesn't address what happens if someone recklessly causes the same thing; for example, if a driver hits a pregnant woman and her unborn baby dies or, as in the Aurora theater shooting, a pregnant woman is shot by someone who doesn't necessarily know she's pregnant. The Democrats' bill, sponsored by Representatives Mike Foote and Claire Levy, seeks to close that loophole.
However, the bill makes clear that it would not "confer personhood, or any rights associated with that status, on a human being at any time prior to live birth."
Continue for more about testimony on Joshi's bill.