Thursday, January 06, 2005

Penalty for killing a pregnant mother

The Oregon Senate Democrats have come up with an alternative to the growing push by conservatives to treat crimes involving the murder of a pregnant woman as two crimes: one for the mother and one for the unborn child.
Their response is to make the penalty for attacking or killing a pregnant woman more serious instead. Try death penalty for killing mom. Most likely inspired by and a reaction to the Peterson case.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland, has scheduled a news conference at 1:30 p.m. today to unveil her bill, which enhances penalties for all violence against pregnant women, from assault to murder.
"I think what we would like to do is keep the focus on domestic violence," Brown said.

Or off the abortion issue.
But this isn't just about domestic violence.

Still, Gayle A. Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, says her organization, an important Republican ally, opposes the Democratic bill. She said it does not address the real issue.
"If you've killed two people, you've killed two people," Atteberry said. "We're talking about a baby that the mother is wanting."
If the two sides stick to their positions, the House could pass one bill and the Senate another. A spokeswoman for Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, said he prefers Brown's approach, but it is not clear that either bill can get through both chambers.

I generally side with the republicans on this issue, but I wonder if fighting what the Democrats are trying to do is worth while. Gees, this is a big step for Democrats actually proposing a bill that advocates the death penalty for any crime.
Anyway, say the Republican House can't get the bill through the Senate that equates the crime with two counts, one for mom and one for baby (which is the likely outcome). Why strike down the one that creates larger penalties for attacking pregnant women. Does it really set up that difficult a precident that the Republican issue could not be taken up again at a later date when political waters are more favorable?

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