Almost a year ago, a tragedy happened here in Longmont: a pregnant woman responded to a Craigslist ad for free baby clothes, only to be attacked and to have her baby cut from her womb and abducted.
The baby did not survive, and the assailant, Dynel Lane is currently on trial this week in the Boulder District Court, however she is not being charged with murder, but with suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
Colorado law does not count the death of an unborn child as murder, only if the child lived outside of the womb for some time. The issue in this case is that it’s not possible to prove how long the child lived outside of the womb – so Colorado’s wording of the law will not allow a murder charge in this case, even though wrongful death is obvious.
Dynel Lane has pleaded not guilty to these charges and has come back saying that it was Michelle Wilkins who attacked and tried to stab her, and that she was only trying to defend herself, and the reason she cut the baby out of Michelle’s womb was because she thought Michelle was dead and was trying to save the baby. This however, gives no explanation for why Dynel Lane told medical personal at Longmont United Hospital that the baby was hers, until they realized that she hadn’t given birth and the baby couldn’t be hers.
You can read Dynel Lane’s testimony here.
Today closing arguments are being presented by both sides.
This case presents a conundrum, not only for the wording of the law, but for the media in telling the story. As one friend pointed out: The Denver Post reported that Dynel Lane “…cut out Wilkins’ fetus before taking the baby to Longmont United Hospital…”
The Denver Post reported today that Dynel Lane “…cut out Wilkins’ fetus before taking the baby to Longmont United Hospital…”
— Shelby Lawson (@Laramiest) February 20, 2016
Did you catch that? She cut out a “fetus” and then took the “baby” to Longmont United Hospital.
It’s a very careful choosing of words which reflects a fundamental belief: that unborn children are not actually children.
The word they’ve coined to help create this false dichotomy – which this case so painfully exposes – is “fetus.” What’s ironic, is that this is based on a failure to grasp the fact that the word fetus is simply Latin for “young person.”
Fetus is Latin for “young person”
Did you catch that? Young PERSON. Not “young mass of tissue, akin more to cancer than to a human being.”
This case presents a conundrum for lawmakers and the media, because it shows that a fetus and a baby are not two separate things. Everyone knows that what this woman did was wrong, because she killed a baby… But if we stick with strictly considering the unborn unhuman, then why is this crime so heinous?
Is a baby only a baby if its mother wants it? Clearly the answer is no.
I will be interested to see what happens in this case. Hoping for justice for Dynel Lane’s crime and mercy for her soul.