Colorado crime laws and ‘personhood’ beliefs clash
The passage, change and enforcement of any new laws can be complicated. Not everyone will agree with legislation, whether it is their ethics, religion or personal experience that makes them think a certain way.
An issue that is extremely personal to many Colorado voters and that inspires great passion is that of “personhood.” Defining what is a person gets to the argument about abortion laws. This most sensitive of debates is going strong locally because of the change of criminal laws in Colorado.
House Bill 1154 took effect in June. It addresses incidents wherein a fetus doesn’t survive a criminal action. A 2012 drunk driving crash in Colorado is an example of how the new criminal law could be used. A woman lost her unborn baby in the crash caused by a drunk driver. That scenario now would mean that the convicted offender would face a further charge and likely conviction due to the “forced miscarriage” he or she caused.
The legislation inspires debate because, as the Colorado Springs Independent reports, pro-life advocates want more from the state. Though the addition of new laws and sentencing punish offenders for the more severe consequences of their actions, legislators have defined the laws as efforts to prevent crimes against women, not babies. Basically, some pro-life supporters want the state to go further and define personhood to include a fetus.
As the history of the pro-life versus pro-choice debate proves, this matter isn’t one that is going to be settled quickly or without strong emotion from all sides involved. What is known now is that the new laws make for more serious criminal charges for someone who is accused of committing a criminal act that resulted in the loss of a fetus.
A criminal defense attorney can explain what is at stake to a defendant charged with a forced miscarriage in or other crimes in Colorado.
Source: Colorado Springs Independent, “Pro-lifers not satisfied with bill that makes forced miscarriage a crime,” J. Adrian Stanley, Aug. 14, 2013