Bill addresses loss of unborn children

DENVER — The Colorado Senate gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill that would allow women who lost their unborn child due to an intentional act to sue for civil damages.

The measure, HB1388, is the extension of a measure approved last year that created a new criminal law against someone who harms a pregnant woman and she loses her unborn child as a result.

But while Democrats said the measure would allow a woman to gain at least some compensation from that loss, Republicans argued against the bill because it, like last year’s bill, made clear it does not grant personhood status to the unborn.

Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, protested that the measure goes out of its way not to acknowledge personhood, saying he was “ashamed” and “disgusted” that it did so.

“This bill not just turns a blind eye to that reality, but I would say it turns a cold eye to that reality,” Lundberg said on the Senate floor. “This bill acknowledges that there is great damage done to the mother when there is wrongful death of her child. But this bill completely denies the possibility that there was a child who was killed in the first place.”

He chastised Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, the Senate sponsor of the bill, for saying that Colorado voters have made it clear they don’t view an unborn child to be a person.

He denied that was the case even though Colorado voters twice have rejected ballot measures attempting to do that. A similar measure will again appear on this year’s ballot.

Steadman said the most common use of the proposed law would be in drunk-driving cases, when an intoxicated motorist gets into an accident with a pregnant driver and she loses her child as a result.

The law also would come into play as a result of domestic violence cases, he said.

“When the father does not want to become a father, he will beat and abuse and cause his partner to lose her pregnancy,” Steadman said. “There have been cases documented that involve things like two-by-fours, baseball bats, kicking and beating and all kinds of horrendous activity that is intended to cause the loss of that pregnancy.”

The measure, which cleared the Democratic-controlled House Monday on a 37-28 party-line vote, requires a final Senate vote before it heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.

In other matters, the Senate gave final approval to HB1276, which requires teachers and coaches to take training courses on cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It passed on a 31-4 vote, with four Republicans opposing it.

It heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.


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