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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: April 2, 2008

Sen. Debbe Leftwich
Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves ‘Scum of the Earth’ Bill

The full Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a measure to strengthen penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman. House Bill 1897 would allow felony charges to be filed against a person who assaults a woman and causes her to miscarry.

Senate author Debbe Leftwich noted that domestic violence is the number one cause of death for pregnant women and that the state has a responsibility to address this tragic problem.

“Pregnant women are at a substantially greater risk for domestic violence and the statistics are shocking,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “It’s our responsibility to do whatever is in our power to put abusers behind bars and keep women safe. This law would provide punishment befitting the crime.”

More than 3,000 pregnant women in Oklahoma are attacked each year – usually by the father of the child. Each year, as many as 324,000 pregnant women in our country are the victims of violent crimes at the hands of their husbands or partners, Leftwich said.

Under the measure known as the “Scum of the Earth” bill, a person convicted of beating a woman the attacker knew to be pregnant could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail. If convicted of a second offense, an offender would be guilty of a felony and face up to ten years in prison.

“Statistics show that pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any other cause,” Leftwich said. “We have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens and few are more vulnerable than a woman with child. This bill represents an effort to reduce these tragic incidents and provide justice for victims.”

House Bill 1897 by Rep. Rebecca Hamilton will now be considered by the full Senate.

For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office:  (405) 521-5557

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