Maine Legislature Rejects Bill on Crimes Against Pregnant Women

May 20, 2013 — A Maine legislative committee on Friday rejected a bill (LD 1193) that would have allowed a family to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a fetus is killed during a crime against a woman who is at least 12 weeks pregnant, the Bangor Daily News reports.

The bill and two other abortion-related measures drew more than six hours of public testimony on Thursday. On Friday, seven of the committee's eight Democrats voted against recommending the bills, after giving them little discussion. Four of the panel's five Republicans supported the measures (Cousins, Bangor Daily News, 5/18).

State Rep. Amy Volk (R) -- who proposed the measure -- said, "A family should be able to sue a drunk driver or negligent doctor who causes the death of an unborn child but currently this is not possible." She added that it "does not give any rights to the fetus. It gives rights to the mother."

However, Kate Brogan -- vice president for public affairs for the Family Planning Association of Maine -- said, "A pregnant woman and her fetus should never be considered as separate, independent or even adversarial entities."

Other opponents raised concern that the measure would enshrine in Maine law that a fetus is viable at 12 weeks. Volk said she is considering an amendment to change the 12-week limit to 24 weeks (Cousins, Bangor Daily News, 5/16).