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House approves Lily's Law

Posted April 11, 2013

— The state House on Thursday approved a measure that would allow murder charges to be brought against someone who injures a child in utero if the child dies of those injuries after birth.

Senate Bill 117, called "Lily's Law," is named after Lillian, the daughter of Danna Fitzgerald of Mebane. Fitzgerald was 27 weeks pregnant when her then-estranged husband shot her in the abdomen with a .45-caliber handgun in 2008.

Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance, said Robert Thompson Broom left his wife to bleed for 12 hours before finally calling 911 after she told him she would tell authorities the shooting was an accident.

Fitzgerald survived the shooting. Her child, Lily, was born, but died of the injuries she sustained.  

A jury found her Broom guilty of murder, but he appealed, saying state law didn't cover the circumstance. The state Court of Appeals upheld the conviction earlier this year.

In 2011, state lawmakers passed "Ethan's Law," which recognizes an unborn child as a second victim in the assault or murder of a pregnant woman. But it applies only to unborn children, not to those who die after birth because of injuries sustained in the womb.

Ross said the legislation would codify the common law under which Broom was convicted.

The bill passed 112-0 with no debate, but it needs to return to the Senate for a final vote. The House Judiciary B Committee tweaked the law so that no woman could be charged under the legislation for an accident or omission during her pregnancy.

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  • Spock Apr 11, 5:20 p.m.

    Yeah right... now how are you going to enforce this debacle?