Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/04/2004 02:38 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 219-OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN                                                                                       
Number 0953                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 219, "An  Act relating to offenses against unborn                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked what  the next committee of referral                                                               
is for SB 219                                                                                                                   
CHAIR WILSON responded the House  Judiciary Standing Committee is                                                               
the next committee of referral.                                                                                                 
Number 0898                                                                                                                     
SENATOR FRED  DYSON, sponsor  of SB 219,  presented the  bill and                                                               
answered questions from the members.   He explained that 29 other                                                               
states and  the federal government  have passed  legislation that                                                               
protects  unborn children.   Alaska's  attorney general  provided                                                               
him with a ruling that the  federal law only applies if an unborn                                                               
child  is harmed  during the  commission  of a  federal crime  or                                                               
federal  jurisdiction, he  said.   For example,  if a  crime were                                                               
committed on  a military  base.   He added  that most  crime that                                                               
takes  place in  Alaska is  prosecuted under  state law,  so this                                                               
legislation puts into  state law that which has become  a part of                                                               
federal law.   Senator Dyson  told the  members that SB  219 goes                                                               
through  all   of  Alaska's  statutes   that  refer   to  murder,                                                               
manslaughter, or assault and adds the unborn child provision.                                                                   
SENATOR  DYSON told  of an  incident that  occurred in  the 1970s                                                               
where police  in California got  into the wrong  apartment around                                                               
dusk on a drug bust, and a  lady came out of her bedroom carrying                                                               
her  Kirby  vacuum cleaner  and  a  policeman  thought it  was  a                                                               
shotgun and shot her.  It killed  the baby.  It was found that no                                                               
charges  could be  made on  the crime  against the  child because                                                               
there was nothing  in the statutes, he explained.   Senator Dyson                                                               
said  that the  California  legislature passed  the fastest  act,                                                               
four and a half  days, ever made in the state.   The law made the                                                               
killing of  an unborn child a  crime.  There have  been two court                                                               
challenges, he added.  Other states  have gone on to pass similar                                                               
SENATOR DYSON  told the  members that the  bill has  been written                                                               
carefully to  exclude the  killing of an  unborn child  during an                                                               
abortion or  if a  child is  damaged or  killed during  a medical                                                               
procedure.   There  is also  exclusion of  a woman  who kills  or                                                               
damages her  child because of  something she was doing.   Senator                                                               
Dyson added that he believes  that is reprehensible behavior, but                                                               
did  not want  a provision  in  this piece  of legislation  which                                                               
would allow  some zealots to go  around trying to arrest  a woman                                                               
who  is   smoking  [cigarettes]  or  drinking.     Senator  Dyson                                                               
commented that  some of the members  have worked with him  on the                                                               
issue  of   fetal  alcohol  syndrome   (FAS)  and  the   idea  of                                                               
involuntary  commitment,  but this  bill  excludes  a woman  from                                                               
being prosecuted  for anything  that she does  that is  legal and                                                               
that  damages a  child.   This  bill has  very specific  language                                                               
directed toward a  crime against a woman who is  bearing a child,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
Number 0694                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON asked Senator Dyson  to clarify that this bill would                                                               
only address instances of illegal activity.                                                                                     
SENATOR DYSON replied yes, that is correct.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked  if he is saying  the bill addresses                                                               
only federal felonies or misdemeanors.                                                                                          
SENATOR DYSON responded  that the new federal  law addresses that                                                               
issue.   This legislation  would take all  of the  state statutes                                                               
related  to murder,  manslaughter, and  assault charges  and adds                                                               
unborn  child to  it.    He commented  that  the  bill very  much                                                               
parallels federal law,  but is a bit different since  it is being                                                               
inserted into Alaska statutes.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  posed a hypothetical  example of  a mother,                                                               
who  desperately  wants her  child,  is  speeding  and is  in  an                                                               
accident that  results in the  child's death.   He asked  if that                                                               
would be considered an attack on  the unborn since the mother was                                                               
committing a crime.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  DYSON   replied  that  might  be   considered  negligent                                                               
homicide, and  referred to language  on page 2, line  21 [through                                                               
CHAIR  WILSON commented  that it  would be  considered a  class B                                                               
felony.  She said she does not know what a class B felony is.                                                                   
SENATOR DYSON  referred to Section  6, page 5, where  it outlines                                                               
some sentencing guidelines.  An individual convicted of first-                                                                  
degree murder  could be  sentenced to five  to 99  years, second-                                                               
degree murder  sentence could  be 10  to 99  years, second-degree                                                               
murder sentence  could be  20 years  but not  more than  99 years                                                               
when the murder of the child is under 16 years old.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  asked if  that  is  in addition  to  the                                                               
penalty for committing a crime against the mother.                                                                              
SENATOR DYSON  replied that  there will  be an  additional charge                                                               
over the penalty  against the mother.  Sometimes  judges will let                                                               
the penalty be concurrent, and sometimes it is supplemental.                                                                    
CHAIR   WILSON  asked   if  she   could   get  clarification   on                                                               
Representative Gatto's  question.   If a  mother is  speeding and                                                               
her child  dies, could the  mother go  to prison for  that crime,                                                               
she asked.                                                                                                                      
Number 0457                                                                                                                     
SENATOR DYSON responded that he thinks she could.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO referred  to  page 2,  line[s  18 and  19],                                                               
which says:                                                                                                                     
       ...recklessly causes the death of an unborn child                                                                        
       under circumstances not amounting to murder of an                                                                        
     unborn child.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER commented that taking  too hot of sauna or                                                               
going to a tanning salon could be considered reckless.                                                                          
SENATOR DYSON  pointed out  that on  [page 2,  line 31]  there is                                                               
language that  provides that the  law does not apply  if anything                                                               
the woman  has done  that is  legal.   Under this  bill penalties                                                               
would only  be incurred  when the mother  was doing  some illegal                                                               
activity which results in damage to the child.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER commented like speeding.                                                                                 
SENATOR DYSON  said that  he believes it  would be  very unlikely                                                               
that a woman would be prosecuted in these circumstances.                                                                        
Number 0375                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON clarified  that  if a  woman is  speeding,                                                               
there  is an  accident, and  a subsequent  miscarriage, then  the                                                               
woman would be guilty of manslaughter.                                                                                          
SENATOR DYSON responded  that in those circumstances  it would be                                                               
criminally  negligent  homicide.   He  added  that this  bill  is                                                               
structured to  address a  third person  who assaults  the mother,                                                               
and in addition  to the assault on her causes  death or damage to                                                               
the unborn child.                                                                                                               
Number 0311                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON asked  if it says that anywhere in  the bill.  Would                                                               
the mother be exempt from prosecution.                                                                                          
SENATOR DYSON replied that the mother  is exempt if it is a legal                                                               
abortion, medical procedure, or legal activity on her part.                                                                     
CHAIR  WILSON asked  what the  difference in  penalty is  between                                                               
manslaughter and criminally  negligent homicide.  One  is a class                                                               
A felony and the other is a class B felony.                                                                                     
SENATOR DYSON pointed  out that if a mother is  speeding and as a                                                               
result of  an accident kills  her three-year-old child, it  is an                                                               
illegal activity.   This bill  says it  is a crime  regardless of                                                               
whether the  child is born  or unborn.   A wanted human  being is                                                               
still being  killed, he  said.   An unwanted child  is in  a free                                                               
fire zone at this time in our culture, Senator Dyson added.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said that  he does not  want to  penalize a                                                               
mother who in the case of  an accident kills her child.  However,                                                               
according to the  statute it would be required  because the woman                                                               
committed manslaughter.                                                                                                         
SENATOR DYSON  replied that it  is not manslaughter unless  it is                                                               
intentional.   It would be  considered negligence, he said.   The                                                               
point is  that the  negligence that kills  an unborn  child under                                                               
this  law would  be the  same penalty  as killing  a child  after                                                               
CHAIR WILSON asked  what the difference in penalty would  be.  If                                                               
a mother  only had  a three  year old  in the  car and  the child                                                               
died, what would be the penalty, she asked.                                                                                     
SENATOR DYSON  replied that she  could be charged  with negligent                                                               
homicide.      In   response  to   Chair   Wilson   request   for                                                               
clarification, he  said it is  possible the mother would  be sent                                                               
to prison.                                                                                                                      
Number 0057                                                                                                                     
WES   KELLER,  Staff   to  Senator   Fred  Dyson,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, testified on  SB 219 and answered  question from the                                                               
committee.   He told  the members  that the  criminally negligent                                                               
homicide standard  carries a  high standard of  intent.   That is                                                               
why  the members  do not  hear of  charges being  brought against                                                               
parents in cases of a death of  a child, he added.  He reiterated                                                               
that there must be criminal intent involved.                                                                                    
TAPE 04-40, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred to page 3,  line 26.  He asked for                                                               
clarification  that  this  provision  would  exclude  alcohol  or                                                               
tobacco, but  would include  marijuana or  prescription medicines                                                               
that the mother did not  have a prescription for.  Representative                                                               
Seaton asked if using illegal  substances or medication without a                                                               
prescription that causes  the death or injury of  an unborn child                                                               
would be considered a class C felony.                                                                                           
SENATOR DYSON agreed that is correct.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  pointed out that  all of the  law preceding                                                               
page 2, line 24, is modified  by applicability.  The only charges                                                               
that  would be  brought against  the mother  is illegal  activity                                                               
that resulted  in the death  or injury of  the unborn child.   He                                                               
said that  as Representative  Seaton pointed  out alcohol  is not                                                               
illegal even though it conceivably  has the worst possible effect                                                               
on unborn  children.  He told  the members that he  would love to                                                               
make alcohol consumption during pregnancy illegal.                                                                              
Number 0145                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON preferenced her comment  by saying that she does not                                                               
know what  current law dictates.   She posed a  hypothetical case                                                               
of a  mother who uses  cocaine and because  of that use  the baby                                                               
dies or is  born cocaine-dependent, has seizures, and  dies.  She                                                               
asked what the effect of this bill will be in a case like that.                                                                 
Number 0225                                                                                                                     
SENATOR DYSON  replied that  under current  law he  believes that                                                               
because the state has not  recognized the personhood of an unborn                                                               
child then any  actions against an unborn child  have no penalty.                                                               
That  is the  reason so  many states  and the  federal government                                                               
have provided  for this  kind of protection  for a  wanted unborn                                                               
child, he explained.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  DYSON commented  in response  to Representative  Gatto's                                                               
earlier  statement,  that he  held  one  of his  foster  children                                                               
moments after it was born with  a pulse rate of 235 from cocaine.                                                               
He  shared that  his daughter  has adopted  that child.   Senator                                                               
Dyson said  he also has  a child  who suffers from  Fetal Alcohol                                                               
Affects which  is a  lifelong struggle.   Senator Dyson  told the                                                               
members that for  the past eight years he  thought very seriously                                                               
about these issues.   He said as the members  know, there are now                                                               
some  involuntary commitment  procedures in  place for  those who                                                               
are in  danger of harming  themselves or  others.  Now  there are                                                               
hundreds of lives that are being  saved by getting those folks in                                                               
front of a magistrates for  involuntary commitment, he added.  He                                                               
told the  committee that there  is one  woman in Alaska  that has                                                               
had nine full-blown FAS  kids in a row.  The  state will spend an                                                               
average of  $1 million  on every  one of those  kids by  the time                                                               
they are  18 years old,  Senator Dyson commented.   It is  a huge                                                               
problem, he acknowledged,  but chose not to address  that in this                                                               
bill.  Senator  Dyson told the committee it is  an issue he cares                                                               
very deeply about.                                                                                                              
Number 0347                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  commented that  this body has  a difficult                                                               
time addressing  the needs of children  who are born.   She asked                                                               
what the motivation is to focus  on this, and how does this solve                                                               
a problem.   Many  problems are  due to the  fact that  the state                                                               
does not provide the services that are needed, she said.                                                                        
SENATOR DYSON  responded that he  rejects the line of  logic that                                                               
says  this should  not be  done  because the  legislature is  not                                                               
doing all it can and should do  in other areas.  Much more should                                                               
be done in other areas, he agreed.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked whom the  state is trying to  get in                                                               
this legislation.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  DYSON  replied  that this  legislation  is  intended  to                                                               
establish that the  killing of a wanted child is  the wrong thing                                                               
to do.   He told  Representative Cissna  that if that  concept is                                                               
troublesome to her, he cannot help her.                                                                                         
Number 0435                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA responded  that the  term unborn  child is                                                               
inaccurate.  It is a fetus, she said.                                                                                           
SENATOR DYSON told the committee that  it has been 50 years since                                                               
he took  Latin, but  he recalls  that the  term "fetus"  in Latin                                                               
means "unborn child."   Taking a human being  and dehumanizing it                                                               
and denigrating  it by  using different words  to describe  it is                                                               
part  of the  strategy of  those who  have oppressed  people down                                                               
through the  ages, he  said.   He reiterated  that is  a strategy                                                               
used to  deny someone protection  that is given to  everyone else                                                               
under the law, he explained.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA stated  that Senator  Dyson has  gone over                                                               
the line.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR WILSON asked the members to remain calm.                                                                                  
Number 0510                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  commented to Representative Cissna  that he                                                               
has  wrestled with  the same  issue  about an  unborn child  that                                                               
troubles her.   He questioned  when a child should  be recognized                                                               
as a  human being.   Should it only  occur after the  child comes                                                               
out of the birth  canal, he asked.  It is hard  to draw the line,                                                               
Representative Gatto stated.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WILSON asked  the members  to restrict  discussion to  the                                                               
issues of the bill.  She said she  is sure the issue of when life                                                               
begins will not be settled here.   Chair Wilson asked the members                                                               
to focus  on the intent  of the bill  where a crime  is committed                                                               
and as a result an unborn  baby is killed, and the individual who                                                               
committed the  crime needs to be  punished for it.   She asked if                                                               
there are any unintended consequences that need to be examined.                                                                 
Number 0615                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL commented  that  it  has been  determined                                                               
that protection of  certain species of animals is  important.  He                                                               
told the  members that  it is  strange to  him that  human beings                                                               
would  not  be included.    Representative  Coghill applauds  the                                                               
efforts of Senator  Dyson in putting this legislation  forth.  It                                                               
is important to define what it valued in our society.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved  to report  CSSB  219(JUD)am,  23-                                                               
LS1116\I.A, out of committee  with individual recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
Number 0684                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected.   She told the  members that many                                                               
words are used that meant  something different in the language of                                                               
its origin and  that now means something very different.   An act                                                               
relating  to offenses  against  a  fetus is  the  beginning of  a                                                               
discussion.   Representative  Cissna stated  that the  people she                                                               
represents see this as an attack  on women and choices.  She told                                                               
the members that she adores  children and cares for children just                                                               
as the  sponsor does.  This  bill is an assault  on women's right                                                               
to choose, she stated.                                                                                                          
SENATOR DYSON apologized  to Representative Cissna.   He told the                                                               
members that he  knows her and knows how caring  she is.  Senator                                                               
Dyson said  he reacted in  response to previous testimony  he has                                                               
heard on the same line of  thought, and responded with more vigor                                                               
than was necessary.  He  reiterated his apology to Representative                                                               
Cissna and  said that she has  been a good caring  example to all                                                               
who know her.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR DYSON clarified that this  bill is designed to offer some                                                               
protection to unborn  children.  There was  some implication that                                                               
this is intended to undo the  Roe v. Wade decision.  He explained                                                             
that he  has a half  a dozen  legal decisions from  state supreme                                                               
courts and  a couple of  legal scholars  which say this  law will                                                               
not have any  impact on that decision.  Senator  Dyson offered to                                                               
make those decisions available to  the members.  This legislation                                                               
will not be used to undo Roe v. Wade, he stated.                                                                              
CHAIR  WILSON explained  that she  believes the  problem occurred                                                               
when there was  a misstatement made when  Senator Dyson responded                                                               
to Representative  Cissna's question.  Senator  Dyson referred to                                                               
"unwanted children" in his response,  however, Chair Wilson said,                                                               
she believes he intended to say "wanted children."                                                                              
SENATOR DYSON replied that is possible.                                                                                         
Number 0919                                                                                                                     
KAREN  VOSBURGH,  Executive  Director,   Alaska  Right  to  Life,                                                               
testified in  support of SB 219.   She told the  members that she                                                               
not only  speaks for herself  but for the 50,000  pro-life people                                                               
in her database.  She thanked  Senator Dyson for his work on this                                                               
legislation.   Ms. Vosburgh explained  that she has  sent Senator                                                               
Dyson  over 1,000  [signatures]  of individuals  who have  signed                                                               
petitions  supporting  this  legislation,  and  has  another  200                                                               
[signatures] that she  as not yet forwarded to him.   In response                                                               
to  Representative  Cissna's comment  that  there  are a  lot  of                                                               
people  in her  district  that are  pro-choice,  she shared  that                                                               
Alaska Right to Life's data base  shows 691 people in district 22                                                               
[Representative Cissna's district] that are pro-life.                                                                           
Number 0979                                                                                                                     
MS. VOSBURGH said the federal  Unborn Victims of Violence Act was                                                               
signed  into  law in  April  1,  2004.    The Unborn  Victims  of                                                               
Violence Act recognizes  that when criminal attacks  or injures a                                                               
pregnant  woman and  injures or  kills  both her  and her  unborn                                                               
child, that  crime has claimed two  human victims.  Prior  to the                                                               
enactment of  this law an  unborn child  was not recognized  as a                                                               
victim with respect to violent crimes.   As of March 31, 2004, 31                                                               
states  now  have laws  where  homicide  charges can  be  brought                                                               
against  an individual  for  the unlawful  killing  of an  unborn                                                               
child  or  fetus in  a  state  crime,  she  said.   Ms.  Vosburgh                                                               
explained that  it is well  established that unborn  victims laws                                                               
or  fetal homicide  laws do  not conflict  with the  U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court's  pro-abortion decree  in Roe  v.  Wade.   The state  laws                                                             
mentioned  above have  no  effect on  legal  abortion.   Criminal                                                               
defendants  have brought  many  legal challenges  to the  states'                                                               
unborn victim laws based on  Roe v. Wade and other constitutional                                                             
arguments, but  all such challenges  have been rejected  by state                                                               
and  federal courts,  she said.   She  offered to  fax copies  of                                                               
those decisions to the committee.                                                                                               
MS.  VOSBURGH  told  the  members  that  in  U.S.  Congress  some                                                               
opponents  objected to  the bill's  [Unborn  Victims of  Violence                                                               
Act] recognition of  the child in utero as a  member of the human                                                               
family.  Yet  in July 25, 2000 the U.S.  House of Representatives                                                               
passed on  a vote  of 417  to 0  a bill  that contained  the same                                                               
definition of a child in utero,  and that embodies the same basic                                                               
legal principle,  Ms. Vosburgh stated.   That bill,  the Innocent                                                               
Child Protection  Act, says  that no  state or  federal authority                                                               
may carryout  a death  sentence on  a woman  while she  carries a                                                               
child in utero.   A child in utero means a  member of the species                                                               
homosapiens at  any stage of  development that is carried  in the                                                               
MS.  VOSBURGH told  the members  that  a May  2003 Newsweek  poll                                                               
found  that  84 percent  of  Americans  believe  that if  both  a                                                               
pregnant mother and unborn baby  are murdered the offender should                                                               
be charged  with two  counts of  murder, not just  one.   The law                                                               
Unborn Victims  of Violence Act  and the single  victim amendment                                                               
are being considered  in Congress.  Sharon  Rocha, whose daughter                                                               
Laci and unborn grandson, Connor, were murdered, wrote:                                                                         
     ...that  adoption of  such  a  single victim  amendment                                                                    
     would be a painful blow to  those like me, who are left                                                                    
     alive after  a two victim crime  because Congress would                                                                    
     be  saying  that  Connor   and  other  innocent  unborn                                                                    
     victims like  him are not  really victims at all.   Our                                                                    
     grandson did  live, he  had a name,  he was  loved, and                                                                    
     his life was violently taken from him.                                                                                     
MS.  VOSBURGH summarized  that what  Sharon Rocha  said was  very                                                               
Number 1165                                                                                                                     
CAREN ROBINSON,  Alaska Women's  Lobby, testified  on SB  219 and                                                               
answered questions  from the  members.  The  focus of  the Alaska                                                               
Women's  Lobby  is to  promote  the  advancement and  defense  of                                                               
interests and rights of women,  children, and families of Alaska.                                                               
She said  that she knows that  some of the most  important policy                                                               
decisions are made in the last  days of the session and asked the                                                               
members to think  long and hard about this policy  decision.  The                                                               
Alaska Women's  Lobby supports the  right for  a woman to  have a                                                               
family and any criminal act that robs  her of a hope for a future                                                               
child is  tragic and intolerable.   Ms. Robinson said  that there                                                               
is no question that committing  violence against a pregnant woman                                                               
is serious  crime and  it deserves a  serious punishment.   Those                                                               
who have  worked in the  field know that domestic  violence often                                                               
begins  or gets  worse when  a woman  is pregnant.   The  leading                                                               
cause of  death during pregnancy  is homicide.   Yet SB  219 does                                                               
nothing to protect  women from such violence, nor  does it impose                                                               
more  severe   punishment  for  committing  violence   against  a                                                               
pregnant  woman  regardless  of  the  harm to  the  baby  she  is                                                               
MS. ROBINSON  pointed out that right  now it is a  misdemeanor to                                                               
beat a woman, pregnant or not.   She urged the members to provide                                                               
real solutions  to problems of  violence against  pregnant women.                                                               
The  only way  to  protect an  unborn victim  of  violence is  to                                                               
protect the mother.                                                                                                             
Number 1264                                                                                                                     
MS. ROBINSON provided a case  scenario that she asked the members                                                               
to think  about.   There is  a situation where  a young  woman is                                                               
married and thinks  she is pregnant.  She does  her own pregnancy                                                               
test.  She  has a young husband who has  been violent before, but                                                               
the police  have never been called.   She waits a  week, goes and                                                               
does  another  pregnancy  test  herself and  finds  that  she  is                                                               
pregnant.  She tells her husband,  who then goes in a rage, beats                                                               
her, kicks her in the stomach  and she calls the police, who come                                                               
and arrest him on a misdemeanor  charge.  She goes to the shelter                                                               
that night and has a miscarriage.   [Under this bill] he would be                                                               
charged with  murder.  She urged  the members to think  about the                                                               
policy decision  they are making.   Ms. Robinson said  she thinks                                                               
it is  important to get the  Department of Law or  others to come                                                               
over  and talk  about  the serious  ramifications  of this  bill.                                                               
There needs  to be enhancement [of  protections] against pregnant                                                               
women who  get beaten  primarily by  their husbands  or partners,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
Number 1320                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF pointed  to page  3, lines  14 and  15 which                                                               
      (1) by words or other conduct intentionally places a                                                                      
      pregnant woman in fear of death of her unborn child;                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  said  that  in the  scenario  Ms.  Robinson                                                               
described if  a husband never lays  a hand on his  wife, however,                                                               
he tells her he wants her to  have an abortion, he can be charged                                                               
with  a class  A misdemeanor.   He  said he  is troubled  by that                                                               
Number 1419                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO commented  that he  was very  interested in                                                               
what Ms. Robinson  was saying.  He said he  was not clear whether                                                               
she  was  suggesting including  the  same  penalties against  the                                                               
unborn and make it equal for the  mother.  Or is her intention to                                                               
reduce  penalties  for the  unborn  and  make  it equal  for  the                                                               
MS.  ROBINSON  said  she  believes it  is  important  to  enhance                                                               
penalties  against those  who beat  pregnant women,  and enhanced                                                               
sentencing in domestic violence.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO surmised  that Ms.  Robinson would  like to                                                               
see a separate bill that increases penalties for abused women.                                                                  
MS.  ROBINSON commented  that she  was saying  there needs  to be                                                               
enhanced  penalties   with  respect  to  pregnant   women.    The                                                               
perspective that  is being taken  in SB 219  is the wrong  way to                                                               
get there, she  said.  Unfortunately, it is very  common for this                                                               
kind of  crime to occur as  a result of domestic  violence and it                                                               
is usually the husband or boy friend who commits the crime.                                                                     
Number 1515                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL agreed  that  there are  some good  legal                                                               
questions.  He said he  believes Representative Wolf concern with                                                               
respect  to  some  of  the  language should  be  addressed.    He                                                               
recommended  that   the  committee  allow  the   House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee  address these point.   He said he  would like                                                               
to vote on this bill.                                                                                                           
Number 1541                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  said   that  other   than  the   problem                                                               
Representative Wolf identified in the  language, all of the other                                                               
problems with  the bill are  addressed with the language  on page                                                               
3, line[s] 26 [and 27] which says:                                                                                              
        (3) are otherwise legal that are committed by a                                                                         
     pregnant woman against herself or her unborn child.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  suggested  the House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee address this problem with  respect to the scenario of a                                                               
pregnant woman who is speeding  or not speeding and what happens.                                                               
The same wording  on the bottom of page 2  could also be reviewed                                                               
and  consideration should  be given  to removing  those words  so                                                               
that  there are  no  unintended consequences,  he  added.   There                                                               
would  not  have  to  be  very many  women  sent  to  prison  for                                                               
something that is unintended to  distort the purpose of the bill,                                                               
Representative Seaton stated.                                                                                                   
Number 1629                                                                                                                     
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Coghill, Seaton,                                                               
Gatto,  Wolf,  and Wilson  voted  in  favor of  CSSB  219(JUD)am.                                                               
Representative  Cissna   voted  against  it.     Therefore,  CSSB
219(JUD)am was  reported out of  the House Health,  Education and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1.                                                                            
CHAIR  WILSON  asked  Senator  Dyson  to  look  at  the  concerns                                                               
mentioned  by  the members  and  talk  with the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee chairman to  ensure no unintended consequences                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF also asked for  Senator Dyson to look closely                                                               
at the language he pointed out.                                                                                                 
SENATOR DYSON thanked  the committee.  He  commented that Senator                                                               
Guess  and  he  have  worked  together to  try  to  increase  the                                                               
penalties  for  violence  against women  and  domestic  violence.                                                               
However, those changes  would not fit under this  title and there                                                               
were not enough votes [in the  other body] for a title change, he                                                               
explained.   Senator Guess  and he  have agreed  to work  on this                                                               
issue during the  interim and bring back a bill  on it next year,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        

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