State House Republicans overrode indignant Democrats on Monday and passed a fetal homicide bill to create a new class of felonies for criminals who cause pregnant women to miscarry. While Republicans say the measure is a criminal justice bill, Democrats contend that it’s an anti-abortion bill in disguise.
A similar bill was introduced last year by Colorado Springs Republican Mark Waller last year, but was ultimately pulled because of opposition from religious groups who said the bill was a step backwards in the fight against abortion because it specified that it was not conveying the status of “personhood” on fetuses, embryos or unborn children.
The focal point this year’s bill, carried by another Colorado Springs Republican, Janak Joshi, is that it would create offenses against “unborn members of the species homo sapiens.” It is backed by Christian organizations that fought Waller’s attempt.
Joshi said in a statement, “This measure corrects a significant failure within our justice system. If the child of a pregnant woman is killed by the violent acts of another, that’s a crime for which people must be held accountable.”
Waller’s bill had bipartisan support last year, but Joshi’s bill has been vehemently denounced by Democrats this session. In a statement Monday, House Democrats pointed out that two separate ballot measure granting “personhood” unborn children have already been shot down by voters. They condemned Republicans for attempting to bypass the will of Coloradans.
“Statutes already exist in Colorado imposing additional penalties on perpetrators who knew, or should have known, that their victims were pregnant women. But the Joshi bill would allow murder charges to be filed against someone who causes a miscarriage,” the statement read.
The measure is now heading to the Senate, where it will meet with almost certain defeat.