The archbishop of Denver lamented the law’s failure to protect all human life after it was announced that no murder charge would be filed in connection with a baby who died after being cut out of her mother’s womb. “When the unborn child of a pregnant woman is murdered, a homicide has been committed,” Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila stressed in a March 27 archdiocese press release. He called for elected officials to enact laws that recognize that unborn children can be victims of violent crimes. The archbishop’s comments came in response to Colorado police reports that Dynel Lane will not be charged with murder. Police said that Lane stabbed Michelle Wilkins, a 7-month pregnant woman who was answering a Craigslist ad for baby clothes last week. Cut out of her mother’s stomach, the baby died as a result of the attack, reports said. Wilkins spent five days in intensive care, but survived. Boulder District Attorney Stanley Garnett announced on March 27 that Lane would not be charged for murder counts, but could face up to 100 years in prison with eight other felony charges. He said that he had talked to Wilkins’ family, who told him that the baby girl was to be named Aurora. “Colorado law sadly does not recognize the unborn child as a person capable of having a crime, such as homicide, perpetrated against it,” reflected Archbishop Aquila. Without proof that the baby was alive and breathing outside her mother’s womb during the attack, Colorado would not allow for homicide charges against the unborn child. Calling the failure to charge Lane for murder a “travesty of justice,” Archbishop Aquila said the laws of the state, which do not protect unborn children from homicide, are an inadequate reflection of reality. Garnett acknowledged that “a lot of people” wanted Lane to be charged with homicide, according to reports from the Washington Post. She faces other charges of first-degree attempted murder with two sentence enhancements, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and first degree unlawful termination of pregnancy. Voicing his sorrow and prayers, Archbishop Aquila pointed to St. John Paul II's Gospel of Life, saying that the laws of Colorado should reflect this reality. “There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person's dignity and without respect for his or her rights. Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted,” he quoted. The archbishop asked the faithful and all people of good will to pray for the Wilkins family as they suffer the loss of their unborn child. “I pray that God's comfort will fill the hearts of Michelle and her family as they mourn the loss of Aurora and that the inadequate law of Colorado will change,” he said.
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