Planned Parenthood rejoices.
The decision not to charge a Colorado woman with murder for the death of an unborn seven-month-old baby has reinvigorated a debate over when states should legally recognize a fetus as a human being.
Dynel Lane, the woman accused of cutting and removing a seven-month-old baby from a mother’s body, will not face murder charges, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said on Thursday.
Michelle Wilkins was brutally attacked on March 18 when she responded to a Craig’s List advertisement in Longmont, Co., from a woman selling baby clothes out of her apartment.
Investigators say that when Wilkins, 26, arrived to the apartment, Lane, who according to The Denver Post was a certified nurse’s aide from 2010 to 2012, stabbed Wilkins in the stomach and removed the fetus from her womb.
Tragically, the seven-month-old baby died as a result of the attack, while Wilkins survived after spending over a week in the hospital.
Colorado, unlike some other states, criminalizes assault of a pregnant woman, but doesn’t recognize the unborn child as a second victim of the crime.
Currently, Colorado is one of only 12 states in the U.S. that doesn’t recognize the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide.
“Under Colorado law, essentially, there is no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother,” District Attorney Stan Garnett said Thursday in response to the decision not to charge Lane with murder.[…]
Last year, pro-life groups brought forth a ballot initiative popularly known as the “personhood” amendment, which attempted to protect pregnant women and unborn children by defining “person” and “child” in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act to include unborn human beings.
If the law recognized a fetus as a “person” or human being, Lane could have been charged with murder or some form of homicide.
But in November, after Planned Parenthood spent more than $1.8 million lobbying against Colorado’s “personhood” initiative, the measure was defeated.
Critics like Planned Parenthood argued the “personhood” proposal would interfere with women’s ability to access abortions and other health care services.