Archbishop Samuel Aquila responded Friday to the violent death of an unborn baby in Longmont as a “travesty of justice” and the lack of state law recognizing the baby’s life as “inadequate.”
His comments came after Boulder County prosecutors announced in a news conference March 27 that suspect Dynel Catrece Lane, 34, would not face murder charges in the death of a seven-month-old baby.
“The vast majority of Coloradans believe, as I do, that when the unborn child of a pregnant woman is murdered … a homicide has been committed,” said Archbishop Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver. “St. John Paul II reminded us in the Gospel of Life that ‘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.’”
The archbishop continued that “The laws of Colorado should reflect this reality and it is up to each one of us to call upon our elected officials to enact laws that recognize the fact that the unborn can in fact be victims of horrendous crimes such as homicide.”
Lane was arrested March 18 for allegedly beating and stabbing a Longmont woman, 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins, and cutting and removing the baby from her womb.
The attack occurred after Wilkins, a certified nurse’s aide, answered a Craigslist ad for baby clothes before noon March 18. When she arrived at the suspect’s home in Longmont, Wilkins was attacked and beaten. Wilkins managed to call 911 for help. She underwent surgery at Longmont United Hospital and was later released. The baby did not survive.
Lane, a wife and mother of two, told her husband when he arrived that she had suffered a miscarriage. Her husband rushed her to the hospital.
Lane was later arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-assault and child abuse. Prosecutors later announced she would not be charged with murder. Lane is being held on a $2 million bond.
The violent attack is causing debate among Coloradans regarding the definition of a baby.
Currently, state law does not recognize an unborn baby as a person unless it’s capable of surviving on its own outside the womb. But the required period of survival is unclear.
The Boulder County coroner announced that an autopsy revealed the baby was not born alive.
“I cannot imagine the horrific loss Michelle and her family is suffering,” the archbishop said. “My heart is filled with sorrow for them for they looked forward to the birth of their child with joy and anticipation. And Colorado law tells them it was not murder, no crime was committed against the child. I call on all people of good will to keep Michelle and her family in prayer. I pray that God’s comfort will fill the hearts of Michelle and her family as they mourn the loss of (the baby) and that the inadequate law of Colorado will change.