Debate Over Fetus Crime Bill
By Alabama Public Radio
Montgomery, AL – There are some challenges in the legislature over a bill that would require a separate murder charge if a fetus is killed during an attack on the mother. Alabama is one of 18 states that does not have a law recognizing two victims in such cases. Alabama's lawmakers generally support changing the law, but the issue has now become entangled with the issue of abortion. The Alabama House passed the bill last month. It would allow murder and assault charges to be brought against someone who kills or injuries what the legislation calls an "unborn child." It covers conception to birth. But the Alabama District Attorneys Association is recommending a different bill. It would apply to a fetus at more than 19 weeks gestation for which there's a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival. Association President Mike O'Dell says the bill uses standards recognized by the U-S- Supreme Court and also included in Alabama's law on abortion and worker compensation.