By Dave Andrusko
The “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” which will make it a second, separate offense to kill or injure a baby during a crime against a pregnant woman, is on its way to pro-life Gov. Rick Scott.
“Scott spokesman John Tupps said in an email Wednesday that the governor looks forward to signing the legislation,” the Associated Press reported.
The bill has passed both houses of the legislation in recent years but never in both chambers in the same year. Last Friday the bill (HB 59/SB 162) passed the House of Representatives on a 74 to 42 vote. This last Wednesday the Senate did likewise by a 25-14 vote.
The current law (passed in 2005) applies only if the baby is judged “viable” and does not include injures the baby might suffer. The new law applies criminal sanctions at any stage of development and includes injuries as well as death.
Both supporters and opponents alike gave credit to Remee Lee, who strongly backed the bill. As NRL News Today readers know, Lee was victimized by John Andrew Welden, who tricked her into taking a drug caused the abortion of Lee’s 6-7-week-old unborn baby. Welden was sentenced 13 years and eight months.
As Florida Right to Life explained, opponents used the same old tired arguments. But
“They weren’t counting on Remee Lee. …. She has courageously chosen to become an advocate for this bill so that others do not have to endure the pain she has been through.
“It has been an absolute honor to work with Remee on behalf of this much-needed legislation. She has diligently traveled to Tallahassee to speak in support of Unborn Victims of Violence in committee meetings, and was present for the vote on the House floor. It was appalling to watch the venom of the opposing legislators who debated that Remee, or any woman like her, should not be protected under Florida law. Her grace and dedication to help protect other women and children from experiencing what she endured has been inspiring.”
For her part, Lee said, “If one baby is saved then that just means everything.” She added, “I really hope this will save the lives of mothers and of babies and that no other parent like myself … will ever have to deal with this pain ever again.”
There are currently 37 states that recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. Twenty eight of those states recognize Unborn Children as Victims throughout the entire period of pre-natal development. (See www.nrlc.org/archive/Unborn_Victims/Statehomicidelaws092302.html)