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Debate over violent crimes that end pregnancy gets political

If you were asked to think of a political point that sparks the most passionate debate among people you would probably think of abortion. The question of when life begins divides even the best of friends. It also divides lawmakers in Colorado.

Currently, Democrats are proposing legislation that would put a specific law on the books regarding Colorado crime that leads to the loss of a pregnancy. Lawmaking that addresses the termination of a pregnancy necessitates particular sensitivity because of how wording and enforcement of legislation could impact laws regarding abortion.

Past Republican-supported legislation related to this matter has failed to pass and be enacted because of worries that the proposed laws would be a step toward defining "personhood" in Colorado and, therefore, affect abortion laws in the state. To avoid that suspected outcome, lawmakers now present their bills as efforts to protect pregnant women, not their fetuses, per se.

If Colorado lawmakers decide to pass this bill, there would be a law that specifically defines a crime against pregnant women. Currently, the loss of pregnancy in relation to a violent crime or traffic accident, for example, can impact the severity of a defendant's sentencing. An addition of a new type of crime would mean that a person's charge, not just the sentencing, would be impacted by a loss of pregnancy.

Whether a law like this will pass depends on the wording of the proposed legislation and whether current lawmakers can get past their political differences. If there is a development in this matter we will post an update.

Source: KOAA, "Lawmakers look at crimes against pregnant women," Patricia Collier, Feb. 19, 2013

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