UPDATE 8:15 p.m. with comment from Personhood USA.
As expected, Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bill Wed. making it a crime to cause the death of a fetus due to a reckless act against a woman (like a drunk driver hitting a pregnant woman).
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains issued a statement praising the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Mike Foote and Claire Levy, and Sen. Pat Steadman, and stating that the new law “empowers district attorneys and other members of law enforcement to hold criminals accountable for crimes against a pregnant woman which result in the loss of her pregnancy.
“The bill was thoughtfully crafted to protect pregnant women without impeding upon a woman’s right to access reproductive health care,” according to Planned Parenthood. “We thank our state lawmakers for focusing their time and energy on a bill that positively supports women.”
Some Republicans, as well as Personhood USA, opposed the bill, which GOP Sen. Scott Renfroe, referred to as the “Let’s-Go-on-Killing-Babies” bill, because it didn’t give legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs) or other forms of human development. The law specifically does not “confer the status of ‘person’ on any human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any state of development prior to live birth.”
Personhood activists, who aim to ban all abortion and some common forms of birth control, are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would give legal rights to all “unborn human beings.” The fact that this phrase is not defined in the text of the ballot question makes abortion-rights activists worry that courts could interpret it to mean that all forms of human development, starting with zygotes, should receive legal protection, thus banning all abortion and some common forms of birth control.
Personhood USA spokesperson Jennifer Mason commented via email on the new Violence Against Pregnant Women law:
Mason: Heather Surovik, whose nearly full-term son was killed when she was struck by a drunk driver near her due date, has opposed the Violence Against Pregnant Women act, calling it “possibly the most deceptive bill ever to be signed into law in Colorado.” Like Heather, Personhood USA recognizes that Planned Parenthood and its supporters carefully worded this bill to repeal criminal abortion laws and protect abortion providers even in cases of gross negligence, all under the guise of decrying violence. This bill specifically denies rights and recognition to babies like Brady Surovik, which is why Personhood USA will continue to support Heather Surovik’s petition drive for true justice for pregnant victims, without the hidden agenda of Colorado’s pro-choice political activists.