Rep. Tommy Waters, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, was prompted to craft the legislation after an incident that shocked Hawaii in June, where a knife attack on a pregnant woman and her teenage son on the Big Island left both the son and the unborn child dead:
Rep. John Mizuno, Vice Chair of the House Health Committee who plans to introduce two bills next session to protect pregnant women, is also quoted.
Waters, an attorney, said he drafted his proposal after reading about the Vesperas case in the newspaper. "I thought, 'Why aren't we protecting the status of pregnant women?' " he said.
Under his proposal, people would face mandatory minimum prison sentences without possibility of parole for felony crimes against pregnant women if they knew or reasonably should have known the woman was pregnant. Those who attack pregnant women would also be subject to extended sentences under a section of the law that now covers crimes against the elderly, children and the disabled, hate crimes, and crimes by repeat or dangerous offenders.