AUL General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne to testify in support of Colorado SB 268, the “Offenses Against Unborn Children Act,” before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Room 352, in the State Capitol Building, Denver, Colorado.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-22-15) – “When Longmont, CO young mother-to-be Michelle Wilkins was brutally attacked and her 7-months-old unborn baby viciously cut from her body, you would think that the attack against both mother AND child would be fully prosecuted,” said Americans United for Life General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne, speaking in Colorado. “But while Ms. Wilkins’s attacker faces multiple charges, murder of Aurora, her unborn child, is not one of them because Aurora was not first born alive as required under current Colorado law. Based on AUL model legislation, SB 268, the ‘Offenses Against Unborn Children Act’ is necessary to provide legal redress for violence committed against an unborn child and close an inhumane loophole in Colorado’s existing criminal law.”

Currently in Colorado, an offender may not be held criminally responsible for the harm caused to an unborn child unless that child has first been born alive, meaning that an unborn child is completely denied protection under current provisions of the State’s criminal law, and the true loss experienced by grieving parents is ignored. Colorado SB 268 provides that unborn children, at every stage of gestation, are protected by Colorado laws prohibiting murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, vehicular homicide, assault, and vehicular assault. The law will not impact acts of abortion, which remain legal under Roe v. Wade.

“Colorado is out of step with most states where the loss of unborn life caused by a criminal act is prosecuted,” noted Lamontagne. 38 states now provide varying degrees of protection and justice for unborn children who are victims of violence, and 29 states provide protection for unborn children at any stage of gestation.

Such laws also address the sad reality that domestic violence often increases during pregnancy. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women will be abused during pregnancy. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, for example, in the State of Maryland, a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of a homicide than to die of any other cause.