This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

My Photo
Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Abortion rights group sounds alarm at pending legislation (Wyoming)

Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A Wyoming abortion rights group says it will try to shoot down two proposed bills in the next month's legislative session, contending both would diminish abortion rights.

One of the bills, House Bill 87, would expand the state's criminal child endangerment statute to allow prosecution of mothers whose newborns test positive for exposure to methamphetamine in the womb. The other bill, Senate File 66, would impose an additional 20-year penalty to anyone who murders a pregnant woman.
Sharon Breitweiser, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming in Laramie, said Monday her group is lobbying against both bills. Although sponsors of both say they're not aimed at diminishing abortion rights, Breitweiser says her group doesn't believe it.

"It's a difficult area on bills such as this, where the sponsors insist that's not the intent," Breitweiser said. "But anytime you go into the statutes, and you start redefining 'child,' or establish that (a fetus) has competing interests to the woman who is carrying the pregnancy, you're getting on a very slippery slope."
It's a short step from such measures, Breitweiser said, to "going toward where abortion is considered murder."

Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell, is the main sponsor of the bill to extend Wyoming's existing child-endangerment law to include exposing fetuses to methamphetamine.
Harvey pledged to pursue such legislation last year after a state district judge in Lander dismissed a child endangerment case against a woman whose newborn child tested positive for methamphetamine. Only South Carolina and a few other states currently permit prosecutors to pursue charges against women they think have harmed their fetuses by taking illegal drugs.

Asked about NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming's opposition to her bill, Harvey said Monday, "I don't know how people read things like that into it. The meth babies bill is just simply to say 'get some help."'

"It's not OK to deliver methamphetamine-addicted babies," Harvey said. "Once a mother passes the legal term for getting an abortion, then she's chosen to deliver a baby. I'm not talking about whether this baby's being born, I'm talking about a live baby being born addicted to meth. And the state has an interest in a child being born healthy."
While Breitweiser said her group intends to lobby to keep either bill from getting the two-thirds vote it needs to be heard as a non-budget matter in this year's budget session, Harvey said she's confident that the Legislature will vote to consider expanding the criminal endangerment statute.

Breitweiser said her group believes that punishing women for their behavioral and health problems during pregnancies is bad for women, their children and families.
"We believe that when you start threatening to throw women in jail, and fine them for their drug use during pregnancy, that you could be encouraging them not to have health care at all, or even having an abortion," Breitweiser said.
On the Senate bill that would set an increased penalty for killing a pregnant woman, Breitweiser said Wyoming law already allows sanctions up to the death penalty for those convicted of murder.

While Breitweiser said her group doesn't condone violence against women, she said, "We believe that Wyoming does have existing laws on the books to deal with this. We feel that adding an additional 20-year mandatory sentence for an additional crime of homicide for an unborn child would serve no real purpose. There are some concerns that you are elevating the status of a fetus without actually addressing the causes of violence against women."

Rep. Thomas E. Lubnau II, R-Gillette and one of the sponsors of the Senate bill, said he doesn't see the bill as an effort to undermine abortion rights.
"When a woman is pregnant, and somebody knows that a woman is pregnant, and she wants to carry the baby to term, there are two lives there," Lubnau said. "That choice has been made, it's a choice to carry that life to term. And if somebody takes that life, there should be an enhanced penalty for that."


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