For Immediate Release: February 12, 2019
Contact: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031
Today, Assemblymembers Brian Manktelow (R,C,I,Ref-Lyons) and Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) announced their intent to introduce legislation which would designate it an assault in the first degree if an individual punches, kicks, or strikes a pregnant woman and causes her to miscarry the fetus. It would also designate it an assault in the second degree if the individual punches, kicks, or strikes a pregnant woman with the intent to make a woman miscarry the fetus.
Their proposal comes just two weeks after the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which permits late term abortions to be performed by most medical practitioners in New York State, so long as they are trained how to perform one but regardless of their medical background.
“One of the reasons I voted against that bill was that it removed protections for victims of domestic abuse and their unborn child,” said Assemblymember Reilly.
Reilly addressed his colleagues in the Chamber prior to the vote. A video of that speech can be viewed below:
According to the language used by the drafters of the Reproductive Health Act, which Albany Democrat’s continue to celebrate the passage of, the death or removal of a fetus is now completely legal. This is problematic in cases of domestic abuse, where an abuser could seek to terminate the victim’s preganacy or seek to fatally harm the victim. While charges could still be brought against an individual for assaulting another individual, it would now be impossible for a prosecutor to bring charges related to the loss of a fetus.
This is the case in at least one recent incident, where Queens County prosecutors were unable to bring abortion charges against Anthony Hobson, who stabbed to death his girlfriend and her five-month old fetus (www.nyp.st/2Du1pbZ). Because of the Reproductive Health Act, prosecutors were only able to charge Mr. Hobson with murder, and not the additional charge of abortion in the second degree.
“New Yorkers are starting to see the foolish and unintended impact that hastily passed laws often have,” continued Reilly. “We’re making it difficult for prosecutors to do their job by watering down the penal code, and we’re setting a very dangerous precedent by doing so.”
Reilly added, “Our intent now is to reinstate provisions to the penal code which would protect victims of domestic abuse and the unborn. I am hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the chamber see this as a common sense fix for the legislature’s oversight on the matter in the first place.”
“The Reproductive Health Act only protects one half of a woman’s right to choose, and that is abortion,” said Assemblymember Manktelow. “Women who choose to keep their children really don’t have any protection anymore. A person can attack a pregnant woman, fully intending to cause her to miscarry, and a woman has no rights to seek justice for her lost child, even though she had chosen to keep her child. Our proposed legislation would change that, making it assault in the first or second degree, depending on if the woman miscarries, for attacking a pregnant woman with the intent to cause a miscarriage. It is a step in the right direction to giving back protection and power to women who choose life over abortion.”