Fetal Homicide Bill Won’t Leave Committee

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(Host) Legislation that would increase criminal penalties for causing the death of an unborn child will not be taken up in the Vermont Senate this year.

Judiciary Chairman Dick Sears sponsored one of two Senate bills addressing the issue of so-called fetal homicide. The other was introduced by Senator Vincent Illuzi.

But Sears says neither bill will leave his committee. He says both bills had some support.

(Sears) "But a lot of people in my caucus and in the Senate – including Republicans and Democrats – didn’t want to deal with anything. There was no consensus how to deal with this issue. And without consensus it’s hard to deal with emotional issues like this."

(Host) Sears says the two bills were quickly becoming a battleground between anti-abortion groups and pro-choice organizations, because they involve unborn children. 

Momentum for a fetal homicide law began building last summer. Patricia Blair, a Bennington woman who was six months pregnant, lost her twin fetuses after her minivan was struck head on.

The driver of the other car has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and gross negligence with injury resulting.

Vermont has no specific crime addressing the death of unborn children.

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