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Chris Watts case brings up debate in Colorado

Since there have been multiple cases of unlawful termination of pregnancy near the Denver area in the past ten years, the question of what changes need to be made is begging to be asked.

Photo of Christopher Watts on August 16th, 2018 in Weld County Courthouse. 
Photo Credit: Joshua Polson/ The Greely Tribune/ AP

Photo of Christopher Watts on August 16th, 2018 in Weld County Courthouse. Photo Credit: Joshua Polson/ The Greely Tribune/ AP

Kassidy Trembath, Editor in Chief

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On August 16th, 2018, Chris Watts was arrested in Frederick, Colorado as a suspect in the killing of his two daughters (age 3 and 4) as well as his pregnant wife.

“Current Colorado law excludes Chris Watts from being charged with the murder of Shanann Watts’ unborn child, a boy the family had planned to name Niko. Prosecutors have instead charged him with unlawful termination of a pregnancy, which is allowed under Colorado state statute.” states 9News.

The term “unlawful termination of pregnancy” is described in Colorado Abortion Laws as “…terminating a pregnancy by any means other than birth or a medical procedure, instrument, agent, or drug, which the pregnant woman (or her authorized health care agent) consented to and obtained.”

As of right now, 38 states in the US have laws regarding fetal homicide, but Colorado is not one of them. “Concerns about the lack of such a fetal homicide law in Colorado also arose in 2015 in Longmont after Dynel Lane cut open a pregnant Michelle Wilkins and removed her fetus” says local news source The Daily Camera.

Since there have been multiple cases of unlawful termination of pregnancy near the Denver area in the past ten years, the question of what changes need to be made is begging to be asked.

Colorado Representative Lori Saine has recently been pushing for a stricter law change. Part of her influence for this law change are Aurora Wilkins and Nico Watts, two babies who have died in Colorado the midst of crimes.

Accordingly, in a more recent case, the question about law changes are being brought back up with unborn baby Nico Watts. Saine believes that an important next step would be “Recognizing that unborn babies are victims of a crime, as a homicide…”

If there was to be a change made to the law on fetal homicide, the punishment for offenders would most likely change with it. Nevertheless, some may believe that changing the punishment for stricter laws will not affect anything, Rep. Saine believes there should be a harsher punishment. “…I am joined by the Weld District Attorney who has asked legislators for the ability to charge murderers to the fullest extent of the law, life in prison or the death penalty for taking the life of an unborn child, like Niko Watts,” says Saine.

Kate Origer, a currently enrolled college student at Front Range Community College, objects to stricter fetal homicide laws because “laws regarding unborn children can blur the line between the human rights of the unborn child and the rights of the mother… With that in mind, I think that if legislation is to be passed regarding personhood as it applies to an unborn child, there is the risk that future legislation will progress to prohibiting abortion and eventually to (further) limiting a woman’s access to birth control.”

It might be beneficial to consider the terms and diction used in the bill presented. In the bill it needs to be explicitly stated that this only applies to women who did consent to the lethal eviction of their unborn child. This would prevent persecution of women who choose to have an abortion.

On November 6th, Chris Watts accepted a plea deal to avoid the death sentence by pleading guilty to the murder of his wife and two children.

Watts, at one point, accused his wife of murdering their daughters, which, in turn, is what he said led him to kill her. None of this was verified.

 

About the Writer
Kassidy Trembath, Editor in Chief

Kassidy Trembath is the current Editor in Chief of The Mav. She covers a range of subjects varying from policies to national news. She is very excited...

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