Texas Senate Prenatal Protection Bill - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

06/02/03 - East Texas

Texas Senate Prenatal Protection Bill

A bill that punishes outside sources for hurting a mother's unborn fetus is heading to Texas Governor Rick Perry's office.

The Texas Senate and House passed Senate Bill 319, known as the Prenatal Protection Act, with a 100-to-one vote over the weekend. The bill would let prosecutors treat fetuses as living individuals in criminal cases. It's a bill expecting mothers, like Lesley Battles, can get behind.

"This baby is just as real to me as the three kids I already have," Lesley said while shopping with her children on Monday. I feel like (my unborn child) is just as important even though he's not here."

"Lacy Peterson didn't have this choice and the baby didn't have the choice," says mom April Quillen." However, in states like California where Lacy was murdered, prosecutors have the choice to charge the suspect with two murders. It's a choice Senate Bill 319 could bring to Texas if it passes the governor.

"If a prosecutor has a case where an individual has committed a homicide or an assault against a mother, and it results in death of a fetus--they will be able to prosecute that individual with the death of that fetus, whether the mother dies or lives," says Chief Felony Prosecutor Matt Bingham.

Bingham says the law would take the same stance in intoxicated and involuntary manslaughter cases. However, there are two notable exceptions.

"This law exempts actions of the mother or physician," says Bingham. "This does not conflict with the pro-choice rights of a mother."

Thirty seven other states already have laws protecting unborn fetuses.

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