The full Senate has given approval to a measure known as the “Scum of the Earth Bill.” Sen. Debbe Leftwich is Senate author of House Bill 1897 which strengthens penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman.
“The number one cause of death for pregnant women is domestic violence,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Here in Oklahoma, more than 3,000 pregnant women are attacked every year, and usually the attacker is the father of the baby, often with the intent of causing the mother to miscarry. It is a heinous crime, and the men who do this deserve stronger punishment.”
The measure, authored by Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, in the House, would allow felony charges to be filed against a person who assaults a woman and causes her to miscarry. Under the legislation known as the “Scum of the Earth Bill,” a person convicted of beating a woman the attacker knew was pregnant could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense would be guilty of a felony and would face ten years in prison. If the attack resulted in a miscarriage or injury to the unborn child, it would be a felony with a penalty of at least 20 years in prison.
“Under current state law, we can file double murder charges for the homicide of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, and that’s appropriate,” Leftwich said. “But we need to enact penalties that can actually help us step in and take action before a domestic situation escalates to the point of murder. I believe House Bill 1897 can help us do that.”
The measure now goes back to the House for final consideration, bringing it one step closer to the Gov. Brad Henry’s desk.