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Crimes against the unborn

By Charles Ashby

It took hours before the House Judiciary Committee got to Rep. Laura Bradford's bill late Monday night, but when it came down to time to vote on it, committee chairwoman Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, unexpectedly took it off the table.

Though the Collbran Republican's House Bill 1261 dealt with crimes against an unborn fetus, one that was 16 weeks or older, many on the committee said the measure conjured issues related to when someone becomes a person. Several on the 11-member panel questioned whether the measure was a back-door attempt to declaring a fetus a person. Currently, the law recognized that only at birth.

Bradford said the issue wasn't about abortion issues, and said she planned to offer amendments to make sure it was clear the bill was directed not at abortion, but murder against an unborn child that the mother clearly had already excercised her right to choose, in this case, life.

The committee is expected to vote on the bill Friday. Levy said that while she was under no obligation to delay a vote on the bill, she did so because one member -- Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs -- had to leave early. He is expected to support the measure.

It is unknown if Bradford has the votes needed to get it out of the committee. Several Democrats on the panel indicated they were uncomfortable with the personhood aspect, saying the law already addresses crimes against pregnant mothers.

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