AUSTIN, February 13, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously upheld a second conviction for the homicide of an unborn child under Texas’ Prenatal Protection Act. The case, Flores v. Texas (Case No. PD-0265-07), involved the double murder of twin unborn baby boys.
According to court documents, Gerardo Flores stomped on the abdomen of his pregnant girlfriend at 20-21 weeks of gestation and caused the babies to be born dead two days later. Flores was convicted in district court in 2005 on two counts of capital murder and received a life sentence.
The baby boys were named, given a funeral, and buried with headstones by the mother’s family. Gerardo Flores appealed the conviction to the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont and finally to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Flores argued that he was merely trying to help his girlfriend abort the children at her request, that he should not be prosecuted for murder, and that the Prenatal Protection Act is unconstitutional. The Court disagreed.
The first such case before the Court of Criminal Appeals was in November 2007, when the Court unanimously upheld a conviction for the homicide of an unborn child by a third party against the mother’s wishes. The case, Lawrence v. Texas, involved the double murder of a pregnant women and an unborn child.
"We are very pleased with the Court’s opinion," said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life (TAL). "The highest criminal court in Texas has again recognized that unborn children are individual persons worthy of protection from murder and assault the same as other persons already born. The Court essentially held that unborn children are babies." Texas Alliance for Life (TAL) filed a scholarly amicus curiae ("friend-of-the-court") brief in the Court of Criminal Appeals to support the law’s constitutionality.
Unborn children in Texas first became protected against crimes of homicide and assault in 2003 when the state legislature passed, and Governor Rick Perry signed in to law, the Prenatal Protection Act. The Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion, the second to address this issue, upheld the constitutionality of the new law. The Texas Legislature passed the Prenatal Protection Act in 2003 (Senate Bill 319), with the strong support of TAL and other pro-life organizations in Texas and over the objections of abortion advocacy organizations including NARAL, Pro-Choice Texas, the ACLU, and the Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
The decision comes just weeks before the Canadian House of Commons is scheduled to proceed with the second hour of debate on similar legislation for Canada (Bill C-484 - the Unborn Victims of Crime Act).
"Such a decision by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals will hopefully inspire Canadian Parliamentarians to pass Bill C-484 into law" said Marie-Christine Houle, Executive Director of Women for Women’s Health, a group which has been advocating for the passage of the bill. "I am convinced that the families of the 10 women and their unborn babies killed since 2004 in Canada would welcome the enactment of Bill C-484 into law," said Houle, who has worked with the families of the victims to promote the passage of the law. "Every Canadian should rally behind this important piece of legislation. It is a matter of common sense and justice."
The ruling is available online here: