HELENA – The Montana House on Wednesday backed a proposal sought by abortion foes to criminalize the killing of a fetus.

The measure is steeped in abortion politics even though it exempts legal procedures, like abortion, and miscarriage from prosecution.

House Bill 104, which cleared an initial House vote 60-40, adds “unborn child” to homicide offenses. Currently, homicide laws cover the death of a human being.

Supporters argue it is necessary to place value on the fetus if an unborn child is killed during a crime. They say a fetus killed either through assault or murder of the mother should be treated as a separate crime.

A similar measure cleared the Legislature two years ago, only to be vetoed by former Gov. Brian Schweitzer. It was the first hot-button social issue to hit the House floor this session, and although debate was relatively mild compared to past years, there was some emotion.

Backers say the measure is modeled after federal law that already covers Indian reservations and military bases in the state.

“This bill is about one simple thing: A pregnant woman values her baby and if someone harms that baby, they should be punished,” said Sarah Laszloffy, R-Laurel.

Opponents argue the measure is full of anti-abortion overtones by creating a legal definition of “unborn child,” opens up a woman’s medical records to inspection during criminal trials and doesn’t really address the problem of violence against pregnant women. Critics say other states with similar measures have found the laws are not being used or prove difficult to prosecute, rarely resulting in a conviction.

At least 38 other states have some sort of “fetal homicide” law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The abortion debate is expected to come up several times this session. Other proposals include another effort to advance a constitutional “personhood” amendment that defines when life begins, and a constitutional amendment saying there is no right to an abortion.

More from missoulian.com

(20) comments

BJG1

The people who exhibit mantal deficiencies in Montuckey are almost alway the ones elected to state positions. These foolish and stupid people who find it impossible to stay out of people's bedrooms, and doctor's offices insist on making medical choices for the entire population of Montuckey. I might add that most of them even lack a high school education and coultn't even pass a simple biology test. Yet these same public officials, who take an oath to uphold the laws of the country, seem to ignore or try to ignore the laws passed by the federal govt (but only if it is passed by the Dems) as being unconstitutional!

MontanaJim72

mkamfm says...In the early 70's I was in college when Roe vs. Wade was passed and I cheered that we finally joined with the progressive Swedes by legalizing abortion. But becoming a mother in a unplanned pregnancy and working in Obstetrics as an RN allowed me to see under the abdominal curtain and to physically hold babies in weeks, and months of development.
______________________________________________________________________________

Just curious how you physically held those babies in weeks and months of development. Please explain the abdominal curtain. Sounds to me like you had an unplanned pregnacy and you still don't know how it happened.

mkamfm

In the early 70's I was in college when Roe vs. Wade was passed and I cheered that we finally joined with the progressive Swedes by legalizing abortion. But becoming a mother in a unplanned pregnancy and working in Obstetrics as an RN allowed me to see under the abdominal curtain and to physically hold babies in weeks, and months of development. How is it that if a woman "wants" her "product of conception" she talks about her baby. If the child is "unwanted" it becomes a fetus?
This is not a woman's issue, but a human issue. A mother carries a child for some 40 weeks. How many weeks in a lifetime remain for that individual. The "fetus" is not part of the mother, but a complete and individual human being created equally from genetic material of both a father and a mother.
If you could look under the abdominal curtain and see the infant that is being nourished in his/her mother's womb, how then would you feel about this proposed law?

MTminded

One RN needs to go back to school. A fetus IS a part of the mother (think umbilical cord).
If, as this law proposes, a pregnant woman is murdered her fetus also dies. That does not necessary prove "intent" by the woman's murderer to also kill the fetus. The murderer may not have known the woman was pregnant. At the most the fetus's death should be considered on a case by case basis. The proposed law seems more like a 'blanket' to assume all fetus deaths are a crime, which they may not be.

MontanaNative1ed7

Neo Conservative Agenda: Regulate and enslave the women. Free the guns from regulation. Liberate the guns.

Andy B Hamond
Andy B Hamond

As a long time Conservative, even I detest this type of headline-grabbing stunt. All this does is further move the real agenda to the fringe.

sofaking tired of the GOP
sofaking tired of the GOP

Nice waste of time and resources on a clearly unconstitutional law, nice work GOP.

BWO

Montana Taliban.

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

According to the Catholic Hospital Church, a fetus is not a person until it is born.....

the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

--http://coloradoindependent.com/126808/in-malpractice-case-catholic-hospital-argues-fetuses-arent-people

Big Government Republicans are simply pissin' in the wind. Again.

Jon-D

So under that premise if someone was to assault a pregnant woman and in the assault manage to injure and kill her baby the case wouldn't be considered anything beyond assault because the baby had not been born yet and therefor could not be considered born alive, right?

This seems more like a womans rights issue to me. The mother should have the option to pursue the killer of her child. The scenario may be different if the woman wanted to abort the child, but if a woman with intent of having a child is attacked and the child is killed she should definitely have more legal muscle than just an assault charge..

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

I see your point. Unfortunately, the GOP's track record on this issue would lead me to conclude that this is just the first step in allowing Big Government total control of a woman's reproductive choices. Remember that many in the GOP are even opposed to female contraception. Republicans should just stick to their successful agenda of removing science from public schools, busting unions, voter disenfranchisement, privatization of public assets, the coddling of drug money laundering banking cartels, and blank checks for our never ending world war.

John P Weber
John P Weber

And if this becomes law, republicans had better to be ready to provide full state support for any unwanted born child concived through a rape. Because they wanted to define a unborn, non-living child who can not survive outside the womb as a live person. The heck with what the woman wants to do. But Conservatives dont beleive woman have the right to do with their body, Republicans will next try to undo 100 years of progress towards equality for all, but since they only beleive in equality for conservative rich people, the rest of us dont matter.

Jon-D

Where do you determine your views from? I have never heard any member of any political party saying that a woman should be forced to keep a child conceived through rape. Can you quote anyone saying such a thing? Or are you just basing your opinion off of this sensationalist garbage news that we have.. This entire concept you have is nothing more than you projecting your views upon someone else.. Your view is the result of an argument that has been framed by the news. This isn't about abortion, it's about a woman attacked that is pregnant and loses the child. Does she have no recourse? Or should she because she may have desired to have the child.

Imagine if someone assaulted your wife and she miscarried because of it, Don't you think that it should be treated as more of a serious crime than if she wasn't pregnant?

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

Actually, Republicans WOULD like nothing more than to jail the victims of rape who abort the rapist's spawn. You know, freedom from 'Big Government'...

New Mexico Bill Would Make Abortion After Rape A Felony

-- http://www.businessinsider.com/new-mexico-bill-would-make-an-abortion-after-rape-a-felony-2013-1#ixzz2IzvV3wki

Jon-D

Seriously, Did anyone actually read this article? Or did you guys just see the hotword "Fetus" and jump head first into "OMG Republicans are trying to take women back to the stone age".. Every time I hear a comment like that I realize how poorly informed many people are. What the media does to this country is a crime.. Let's pour over the article really quick to see what wasn't read..

The measure is steeped in abortion politics EVEN THOUGH IT EXEMPTS LEGAL PROCEDURES, LIKE ABORTION AND MISCARRIAGE FROM PROSECUTION.

Supporters argue it is necessary to PLACE VALUE ON THE FETUS IF AN UNBORN CHILD IS KILLED DURING A CRIME. They say a fetus killed either through assault or murder of the mother should be treated as a separate crime.

How can anyone logically be against that, It EXEMPTS abortion and Miscarriage's..
It's like the word fetus shows up and people totally zone out into robot mode.

MT_Mama

Oh, please. EVERYONE knows that this is merely the first step towards outlawing all forms of abortion. It's a well-known tactic from the anti-choice and anti-women's rights groups. If you believe it's not, then I have a bridge to sell you.

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

The article opens with: The Montana House on Wednesday backed a proposal SOUGHT BY ABORTION FOES to criminalize the killing of a fetus.

This bill is just the foot in th door to total Big Government regulation of women's reproductive rights.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

Many, like me, who are opposed to abortion on principle, really detest this junk! Stop dictating to women what they can do to their body when it is legal in the US and stop being white boneheaded men with suits dictating YOUR morality. Really disturbing do gooders who would not know a Christian principle if it bit them in the behind...twice. Hypocrites. Remember judge not that you are not judged??? Oh, sorry must be one of those pesky inconvenient verses you sort of gloss over right?

MT_Mama

Let's see, the Republicans claimed they wanted to concentrate on issues important to Montana's economy. Liars.

LilyVonShtupp

To be fair, they ARE concentrating on money...the flow of it straight to their re-election coffers from anti-choice fringe groups!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.