Friday, February 6, 2004

Explain yourself: Dick Roeding on fetal homicide bill

Kentucky Senate President Pro Tem Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, and other conservative Northern Kentucky lawmakers have led the fight to pass legislation that would make it a criminal homicide to cause the death of a fetus, with an exemption for legal abortions. Separate versions of the bill have passed the Senate and the House, and lawmakers are working on a compromise. Ohio passed a similar law in 1996, following the deaths of a Middletown woman and her unborn child in a crash on I-275 in 1995. Here are Sen. Roeding's comments on the legislation:

Since 2001, I have been sponsoring fetal homicide bills which have passed the Senate but been blocked in the House. I am encouraged that House Bill 108 which recently passed the House moved toward our position here in the Senate.

Life must be protected from conception. Both my Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 108 define life as beginning from conception. If passed, Kentucky law would recognize the death of an unborn child as criminal homicide if the death is caused under circumstances which constitute murder, manslaughter in the first or second degree, or reckless homicide. This legislation, endorsed by both the Catholic Conference and the Kentucky Right to Life Association, would bring Kentucky in line with the 35 other states throughout the country that already recognize fetal homicide as a crime.

I look forward to reviewing HB 108 and I'm confident that we'll be able to find areas of consensus and finally pass this much needed legislation.

"Explain yourself" provides a forum for public officials to elaborate on a vote or a statement they made. The best suggestions come from our readers, and we encourage you to offer thoughts on items you might have noticed in the Enquirer or elsewhere. Do you know of a position, vote or statement made by a public official that you'd like him or her to explain? Send ideas to assistant editorial page editor Ray Cooklis and rcooklis@enquirer.com, phone (513) 768-8525.

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