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April 24. 2014 1:43PM

Fetal homicide bill stopped in the Senate

CONCORD – The Senate failed to agree on a fetal homicide bill Thursday, likely ending any attempt to add a fetus as a person to the murder statutes for this session.

The Senate failed to agree to a proposal that would treat a fetus at eight weeks and older as a person in the event of a homicide, even if the mother lives on. The vote was 13-10. Another bill that would add a fetus that could live outside the womb to the state’s murder statutes failed on a 12-11 vote.

After about an hour-long debate and no agreement could be reached, the Senate tabled the bill on a 21-2 vote. Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said he expects House Bill 1503 to remain on the table for the rest of the session.

The House-passed bill enhances penalties for those convicted of crimes in which an unborn child is killed when the mother is killed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee changed the bill, making it closer to what was introduced in the House by Rep. Leon Rideout, R-Lancaster, whose daughter lost her unborn child in a traffic accident last June.

Originally, the bill allowed for a separate prosecution for the death of an unborn child older than eight weeks old.

If the bill remains on the table in the Senate, it would die when the Legislature adjourns this summer.


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