There are tragic consequences when the law doesn’t consider unborn children “persons.” Here’s how Colorado law denied justice to 7 pregnant women and their unborn children:
7. Leah Gee and her son Jerimiah
In 2003, Daniel Self was charged with killing his girlfriend Leah Gee, who was 7 months pregnant. Leah Gee died two days after she was shot and her son Jerimiah was delivered by doctors via Caesarian section. He died two weeks later from complications.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 2005 showing homicide is a chief cause of death for pregnant women. Yet Colorado has no laws allowing criminals to be prosecuted for the wrongful death of an unborn child during the commission of a violent act.
Colorado prosecutors were upset that they could not charge Daniel in the death of Leah’s unborn child. At a hearing, District Judge Gil Martinez dismissed a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
6. Amanda Hanson and her unborn son
Amanda Hanson was 4 months pregnant when she was strangled in 2002. The murderer was not charged in the death of her unborn child. Amanda’s mom, Erin said her unborn grandson “had as much a right to life as [Amanda] did.”
“His life was intentionally taken,” Erin said. “Another woman’s going to die, and that woman’s going to be pregnant, and her killer’s not going to be charged with two counts of first degree murder.”
Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican, was one of the panel members who supported the bill and told his colleagues that “The baby was not an asterisk.” The Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee killed a bill in 2007 which would have changed the law.
5. Shea Lehnen and her daughter Lileigh
In 2007, Shea Lehnen was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant when she was struck by a drug-addict driving on the wrong side of the road while under the influence. Lehnen’s daughter Lileigh was born alive via emergency c-section, but the child died within hours.
Colorado Courts ruled that the driver could not be charged with first-degree murder with extreme indifference. “While here the child was alive at the time of defendant’s alleged criminal acts, she had not been born,” the Appeals Court said. “Therefore, she was not a ‘person’ within the meaning of (state murder laws).”
“This is an area that cries out for new legislation,” Judge Connelly continued.
4. Ashley Moser and her unborn child
The Colorado Batman theater shooting claimed its thirteenth victim when a pregnant mother who survived the attack suffered a miscarriage following surgery. Ashley was 8 weeks pregnant when she was shot three times at theater mass shooting. Her six-year-old daughter Veronica was killed.
Nevertheless, James Holmes was not charged with an additional count of homicide for the death of Ashley’s unborn child. In 2012, abortion advocates led by Planned Parenthood and the Colorado Democratic Party defeated a bill, HB 1130, that would have brought justice to families like the Mosers.
3. Laura Gorham and her unborn son
Laura Gorham was 34 weeks pregnant when she was struck by a reckless driver as she crossed the street. Emergency responders rushed Laura into intensive care to save her life, but her unborn son tragically died in the collision.
Once again, no criminal charges for the death of Laura’s unborn son could be filed against the driver, even if he had been found. A bill which would have changed Colorado law to allow prosecution for Laura’s son’s death was stopped in the legislature.
The Fraternal Order of Police and the Colorado District Attorneys Council supported the bill, but Planned Parenthood, an organization that makes hundreds of millions of dollars from abortion, did not. They lobbied against HB 1130, which would have brought justice for preborn children and their mothers who have suffered terrible loss.
2. Lori Stodghill and her unborn twins
Lori Stodghill was 28 weeks pregnant when, on New Year’s Day 2006, she began vomiting and feeling short of breath. Her husband, Jeremy, took her to the emergency room of St. Thomas More, where Stodghill collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors and nurses tried to revive Lori, but were unsuccessful. Medical personnel refused to deliver her unborn twins via an emergency c-section. Both unborn children died too.
When Jeremy Stodghill sued Catholic Health Initiatives, which operates the hospital, attorneys for CHI argued that “under Colorado law, a fetus is not a ‘person,’ and Plaintiff’s claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed.”
While researching the scandal, Personhood USA learned that the same Colorado hospital chain allowed or participated in abortions on the Catholic hospital grounds.
1. Heather Surovik and her son Brady
On July 5, 2012, Heather Surovik was 8 months pregnant when a repeat drunk driver slammed into her car. Although she survived, her unborn son Brady did not. Because Colorado does not recognize Brady as a person, there was no prosecution at all for his tragic death—the drunk driver was only charged with damage to Heather’s vehicle. Brady was eight pounds, two ounces.
When Heather tried to change Colorado state laws to protect babies like Brady, abortion advocates and their allies at the capitol testified that Heather had merely “lost a pregnancy” and shot down a bill that would have brought justice to babies killed during the commission of a crime. Immediately following those hearings, Heather filed “The Brady Amendment” which calls for fetal homicide laws to FINALLY be applied to unborn victims of violence in Colorado.
Then, Colorado legislators finally acted…
Afraid of Heather’s amendment, Gov. Hickenlooper and Planned Parenthood passed a bill saying Brady Surovik’s life was worth as little as $2000—the fine for killing an unborn child in a drunk driving collision.
“This bill has very little to do with justice for pregnant victims of crime in Colorado,” explained Heather Surovik. “Planned Parenthood and other supporters of this new bill opposed my efforts to seek justice for my son’s death just a few months ago. Now they have passed a law that does very little for women like me, while at the same time protecting abortion providers and repealing laws that have been on the books for years.”
The new “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act” specifically reinforces that babies like Brady are not people and eliminates criminal liabilities for abortionists who kill women during an abortion (like convicted abortionist Kermit Gosnell).
We Need An Amendment
In order to pass an amendment that will finally protect pregnant women and children in Colorado, volunteers have gathered signatures to put The Brady Amendment on the ballot. If you live in the state of Colorado, you can vote YES on Amendment 67 this November!
You can find out more about Heather’s campaign for justice in Colorado at AVoiceForBrady.com.
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