Laci Peterson's Kin Back Fetal Protection

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Laci Peterson's Kin Back Fetal Protection


Byline: Amy Fagan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Legislation that would make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus while committing certain federal offenses against the mother received a strong endorsement yesterday from the family of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner.

"This bill is very close to our hearts," read a letter signed by the slain woman's parents and siblings. "We have not only lost our future with our daughter and sister, but with our grandson and nephew as well."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, yesterday said he plans to bring the bill straight to the Senate floor instead of putting it through his committee, where it could get "bogged down."

"Knowing that perpetrators who murder pregnant women will pay the price not only for the loss of the mother, but the baby as well, will help bring justice for these victims and hopefully act as a deterrent to those considering such heinous acts," read the letter by Mrs. Peterson's family, which has asked that the proposal be named "Laci and Conner's Law."

Prosecutors in California have charged Scott Peterson, 30, with separate counts of murder in the deaths of Mrs. Peterson, 27, and Conner, whose decomposing bodies were found in Richmond, Calif., April 13 and April 14 on rocks above the high-tide marks of San Francisco Bay.

Under California law, intentionally killing a fetus is murder, with an exception for surgical abortions. About half the states have similar laws, but there is no equivalent in federal law, which recognizes a crime only against the pregnant woman, not her unborn child.

Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, is the Senate sponsor of the bill designed to close that gap. Rep. Melissa A. Hart, Pennsylvania Republican, is sponsoring the companion bill in the House. …

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