Starting in July, prosecutors in Indiana will be able to charge a suspect with murder when a pregnant woman is injured or killed and their unborn child does not survive.
SB 203 was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb on Sunday. The bill allows prosecutors to seek a charge of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and feticide if a fetus is killed in -any- stage of development.
The bill allows charges to be sought only if the person commits a felony that causes the death of a fetus and will not apply to lawfully performed abortions.
Senator Aaron Freeman drafted the bill in January after he received a letter from Jennifer Lee.
Lee’s 18-year-old daughter, Brittany, was shot and killed while trying to buy a TV.
Brittany was eleven weeks pregnant when she was killed.
After learning her daughter’s murderer could not be charged with murder for the death of her grandbaby, Jennifer set out to change the law.
She bought a computer she sent 150 letters – one to every member of the Indiana State Legislature.
Only one Senator replied – but that’s all it took.
Beginning July 1, if a prosecutor can prove that the defendant knew a woman was pregnant, they can bring a second homicide charge for the fetus.
“She would be proud because I didn’t just let her baby die. And I know this bill isn’t going to go for my grandbaby, but it will go for many babies to come,” said Lee. “The first person that’s convicted of this, I will be standing in the court and I’ll see justice for my baby.”