Thursday, February 6, 2003

Lawmakers push 'fetal homicide' bill

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Flanked by photos of babies killed in vehicle crashes, a group of legislators launched a new push Wednesday to create a crime of "fetal homicide."

They have bills under which Kentucky's homicide statutes would extend to fetuses, starting at fertilization. Under current law, a fetus is not considered a person until the live birth occurs.

An abortion-rights activist says the effort is part of a strategy to undermine women's access to abortion.

A bill in the House is titled the Caleb-Haley Act to memorialize two babies stillborn as a result of vehicle crashes. A companion bill is in the Senate, which has passed it in the past. The legislation has never gotten through the House.

"My happiness is gone, but to have this bill passed would bring a little peace of mind," said Troy Thornsbury, whose pregnant wife and her fetus were killed when a man, who police said was impaired by drugs, ran a red light and rammed their car in Pike County.

The Thornsburys were headed to a Pikeville hospital for the delivery at the time. The infant was later named Haley Natasha Thornsbury.

Ralph Denham Jr., whose unborn baby also died in a car crash in Lincoln County, three days past the due date, said he believed photos on display in the Capitol Rotunda refuted the reasoning of Kentucky's courts. "These are babies, I don't care what anybody says," Denham said, choking back tears. "They are humans."

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