A bill that would make it a separate offense to cause the death or injury of an unborn child cleared its first Senate committee Monday.
With just the change of a definition in Florida law, Lakeland Senator Kelli Stargel says she hopes to both reduce violence against women and provide justice to unborn victims.
“This bill should cause people to think twice before they commit violence against women. It revises the statute, changing ‘unborn quick child’ to ‘unborn child.’ A definition of an unborn child is a member of the species homo sapien at any stage of development who is carried in the womb. And, the major change is an ‘unborn quick child’ basically referred to as a viable fetus outside the womb—we’re changing that to ‘unborn child,’ which would refer to a child at any stage of human development, not just the viable stage,” said Stargel.
On a 4-2 vote, the bill passed along party lines in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee with Democrats opposed. Despite that, the committee heard no debate on the usually controversial issue. In the past, bill critics—particularly abortion-right groups—raised concerns that the measure gives separate legal protections to a fertilized egg. A similar measure passed the House in 2013, but died in committee in the Senate.
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