Analysis

Colorado coroner calls death of baby ripped from the womb ‘fetal demise,’ not murder

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The Boulder County Coroner’s Office released a report that adds insult-to-injury in the case of a preborn baby who was cut from her mother’s womb. The Colorado Coroner has added to the gross miscarriage of justice by labeling the brutal murder of a preborn child as if it were simply an unfortunate miscarriage.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday: “The coroner’s office said there was no manner of death associated with the cause.” Since the baby was ripped from her mother’s womb and died when she was viable, this news was a troubling reminder of the weak laws protecting preborn babies that plague Colorado.

In March, District Attorney Stan Garnett said, “Under Colorado law, essentially, there is no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother.” And the woman who admitted she ripped a baby from a mother’s womb, won’t be charged with murder – even though the baby was alive, and allegedly gasped for breath before she died.

In March, Aurora Wilkins, the 7-month preborn baby that doctors say would have survived outside the womb, was ripped from her mother’s womb, and kidnapped. Dynel Catrece Lane was charged with attacking Michelle Wilkins, Aurora’s mother, leaving her for dead.

Outrage ensued when no murder charges were brought against Lane after Aurora’s death. Since there are no fetal homicide laws in Colorado protecting babies like Aurora, Lane was not charged with murder, despite evidence proving that Aurora was alive after she was ripped from the womb.

In fact, it was the suspect’s husband who said he heard Aurora’s “gasping breath” when he found her in the bathtub. Later, a report said:

“[The] physician who examined the victim said the incision was ‘well performed,’ and that it had been done by someone who had researched Cesarean births, the affidavit said, adding that the fetus would have been viable.”

In fact, the baby’s autopsy showed her to be at 34 weeks gestation. The Denver Post reported then that:

“Dr. Clyde Wright, a neonatologist who works out of University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, says a fetus as far along as Wilkins’ — 34 weeks — has about a 98 percent chance of survival if born into proper medical care.

“‘I think it’s safe to say for any indication, if a mom comes in at 34 weeks we are very confident with the prognosis of that baby,’ he said. ‘It would be shocking to have a routine 34-week baby not survive.'”

What’s been truly shocking, however, has been the lack of murder charges for Lane. Instead, on Wednesday, the Boulder County coroner’s office ruled Aurora’s death a “fetal demise.”

Even the woman who admitted ripping the baby from her mother’s womb did so because the baby was viable – something confirmed by the attacker’s husband and verified by a specialist in the medical field. Yet in Colorado, injustice continues, not only for the parents who lost their daughter, but for the child who lost her life and voice at the hand of ambiguous laws. In this case, the murderer gets away the crime, and the result is a true miscarriage of this case.

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