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House OKs feticide bill, sends back to Senate

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Legislation that would increase the penalty for fetal homicide has made it through the Indiana House of Representatives, and now must go back for approval in the Senate where it originated since some changes were made.

On Monday, the House voted 96-0 in support of Senate Bill 236, which would apply to fetuses at any stage of development and enhance the feticide penalty from the current two- to six-year term, to a six- to 20-year penalty. It would also allow an additional six to 20 years of prison time to be added for anyone convicted of murder or attempted murder if they cause pregnancy loss, boosting the feticide penalty from a Class C to a Class B felony.

The only amendment replaced references to the death of a child in utero with new language referring to the termination of a human pregnancy, matching existing language in the state's feticide law. The Senate had passed the bill by a 40-9 vote on Feb. 25, and will now reconsider it with the new language.

Lawmakers leading the effort were Sen. James Merritt and Rep. Mike Murphy, both R-Indianapolis, and Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond. The legislation comes in response to an Indianapolis shooting in April 2008, when a pregnant bank teller was shot in the abdomen and later lost the twin girls she'd been carrying for about six months. One was stillborn, and the other died about five hours after the premature birth.

Current law only allows murder charges to be filed if a fetus has reached "viability," or about seven months. Approximately 37 states have feticide laws and about 18 of those consider the killing of a fetus at any stage to be murder, Merritt noted.

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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