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Colorado Hit & Run Sparks Debate Over 'Personhood


A pregnant Colorado woman is recovering this week after suffering injuries in a brutal hit-and-run accident last week. But physical wounds will not be the only reminders of the incident -- the mother-to-be's unborn baby was delivered stillborn following the trauma. And though the mother, Laurie Gorham, is now resting in fair condition and resting in a Denver hospital, the emotional scars from the tragic accident won't soon fade away.

The hit-and-run driver is reportedly nowhere to be found and even though the baby's life was lost, the driver would unlikely be charged with vehicular homicide, says University of Denver law professor and former prosecutor Karen Steinhauser. According to Steinhauser, the law in Colorado defines a "person" as a "child or a human being who was born alive at the time of the homicidal act."

According to CBS Denver, Colorado voters turned down a ballot referendum that would have assigned a new definition of "personhood," making it from the time of conception. But because the initiative was turned down, Gorham's unborn baby will not receive justice.

The likely charges that would apply in this Gorham's case are vehicular assault and hit-and-run, and the baby lost could only be taken into account during sentencing.  “The court could consider the fact that she was pregnant at the time and lost the baby in terms of imposing a higher sentence on the vehicular assault or hit-and-run,” Steinhauser says.

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