Letter from Snively’s fiancÃ© pleads for passage of Senate Bill 982
By Oregon Senate Republican,
Salem, OR “” Despite pleadings from Heather Snively’s fiancÃ© and father to John Stephens, Democrats turned their backs on a bill that would allow prosecutors to charge a killer with two crimes in cases where a pregnant woman is murdered. Republicans attempted to bring Senate Bill 982 to the Senate floor on Friday and presented Democrats with a letter from Chris Popp pleading for its passage, but Democrats voted the motion down.
“Please allow me to be the last person to request such legislation,” said Chris Popp in his letter to the State Senate. “Heather and I would lay in bed listening to his heart beat and feel him shimmy in her belly. When I saw the shell of John Stephen’s soul I saw a nose, mouth and two eyes. I saw a baby boy one that was in the most need of all defense and needed the protection of the law.”
Heather Snively, a 21-year-old woman 7 months pregnant looking to exchange used baby clothes, was killed and cut open so her son could be removed from her womb, yet prosecutors can only charge the killer with Snively’s death under current state law. Senate Bill 982 would make the murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide of an unborn child a prosecutable homicide. The bill includes an explicit exception for cases of legal abortion.
The bill is modeled after House Bill 2020 introduced in 2005, would create the crime of assault on an unborn child and expand criminal homicide to include the death of an unborn child. The bill would punish the assault of an unborn child with 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 find or both. Thirty six other states and the federal government have similar legislation. The infamous California case involving Laci Peterson and her unborn child was prosecuted under a similar statute.
“This is about justice for the lives of Heather and John in the face of an unfathomable injustice,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “The family cries for it, the public demands it, and yet this bill will end the session gathering dust in committee. There is no excuse for not moving this bill.”
In 2004, a man attacked a pregnant woman in Clackamas County, resulting in the loss of her unborn child. The man could only be charged with assault in the first degree, for which he only served 90 months. Starr’s legislation would make the death of an unborn child a crime regardless of whether the mother lives or dies.