The woman who cut the unborn baby from the womb of the mother during a brutal attack is not expected to face murder charges, thanks to Colorado's abortion laws.
On November 4, 2008, Colorado voters turned down an initiative that would have defined life as beginning at fertilization. Ever 73% of Colorado's voters decided that Amendment 48 was not something that the state wanted to be a part of, and the initiative was shut down. Since then, Colorado has defined life as something that starts when a baby is born.
This is the situation that has come up in several cases over the years when a baby is killed while still in his or her mother's womb, but last week's bloody attack on 7-month-pregnant Michelle Wilkins and her unborn baby will not include a murder charge.
Wilkins, who is in critical, but stable condition, responded to a Craigslist ad for baby clothes last Wednesday, but when she arrived, 34-year-old Dynel Lane stabbed the 26-year-old Wilkins in the stomach, cutting the baby from her womb. While no motive has officially been given, it's believed that Lane was targetting a pregnant woman to take the child for her own. After removing the baby from Wilkins, she reportedly went to a nearby hospital where she was trying to tell staff that the baby was her own.
Unfortunately, the female baby did not survive, but Wilkins is said to be improving "minute by minute, hour by hour," according to officials.
Lane is currently being held on $2 million bail, but is not expected to face murder charges because of Colorado's definition of a life. "The murder charge would reportedly depend on whether the fetus was old enough to have lived outside of her mother's body," CNN points out.
Former First Lady of Colorado, Dottie Lamm, penned an editorial article in the Denver Post back in 2008 describing a similarly horrific scenario where a 9-month-pregnant Heather Surovik lost her baby in an automobile accident after being hit by a drunk driver, but the driver only faced DUI charges because of Colorado's laws.
"Our biggest issue is that they are not calling it a baby," said Surovik's grandfather, Tim Onley. The family pushed to get the legal definition of life changed, but Lamm mocked the idea in her article.
"Under a 'personhood' law (supposedly designed to protect the fetus), it is actually the pregnant woman who could be evaluated for possible murder charges if she suffered a miscarriage," Lamm claims. "It is the woman who could be charged with vehicular homicide if she, even sober, caused an accident that killed her fetus.
"It is the woman and her doctor who could be charged with murder if she elected an abortion even if medical complications threatened her health."
Surovik helped to organize a vigil for Wilkins and the murdered child, telling NBC News, "I want to be here to show my support and just let her know that there's a community out here that loves her and is praying for her and wants her to get better."
Michelle Wilkins' family is optimistic that the state will use common sense and prosecute Lane to the full extent of her actions. "We cannot begin to fathom the depths of depravity and evil which drove her attacker, and trust that between law enforcement and our legal system; they will make sure justice is carried out."