Dynel Lane, the 34-year old that lured a pregnant woman to her home in Longmont and carved out the fetus from her womb, was put Friday under multiple accusation charges including attempt to commit first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of pregnancy. However, the dilemma that splits Colorado lawmakers in two is whether she deserves a murder charge for killing the fetus.
Lane, an ex-nurse’s aide, lured 27-year old Michelle Wilkins to her home in Longmont last week, after she had listed baby clothes for sale on classified advertisements site Craigslist. Wilkins, who was in her seventh month of pregnancy, was attacked after she reached the house and Lane removed the fetus from her womb to simulate a miscarriage of her own, using techniques akin to cesarean birth. Wilkins managed to live through the ordeal.
The major problem in setting charges is judging whether Lane can be convicted for homicide, as she is the one that ultimately caused the death of Wilkins’ fetus. And of course, the situation draws into the inevitable questioning of the morality of abortion, and if whether a fetus can be considered a person or not.
The Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett has been quite adamant in this regard, stating that even if he wanted, he could not charge Lane with murder under Colorado state law. The coroner concluded after autopsy that the fetus had no chance to effectively live outside of the mother’s womb; as it is required by Colorado State in these situations to file a murder.
“A prosecutor cannot file murder charges when a baby who is killed has not lived outside the body of the mother. For similar reasons, I cannot bring charges of child abuse resulting in death” states the district attorney.
For cases such as these, a 2013 bill introduced the charge of “unlawful termination of pregnancy”, which can yield a maximum of 32 years in prison. Lane will probably get over 100 years in prison combined from all her charges.
However, the debate in this case is fueled by witness reports of Lane’s partner which have the fetus grasping for breath. Whether this is enough to consider it “living” is another discussion which signalizes the need for a clearer law regarding fetal death for the Rocky Mountains state.
Image Source: The Denver Channel