BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A bill honoring a murdered Howard County teacher and her unborn son is gaining traction among Maryland voters.
Laura Wallen’s family hardly expected their daughter’s murder could change the course of Maryland law.
Nearly 63 percent of people polled statewide said they would support Laura and Reid’s law, which would allow homicide suspects to face criminal charges for the death of an unborn child at any stage of development.
“Hundreds of people have told us, I have no words to help you. This bill finds the words,” said Laura’s father, Mark Wallen.
Back in September Mark’s daughter, Laura, was shot in the head at 14-weeks pregnant.
Laura’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, was charged with her murder, but because of current Maryland law, he won’t face charges for the death of their unborn son.
“This legislation is nothing more than an attempt to have justice or the victims, justice done for the victims and justice done for the survivors,” Sen. Justin Ready said.
The bill could sway support for candidates for the upcoming mid-term elections. Seventy percent of Baltimore City voters are in favor of the bill that protects women during the vulnerable first trimester.
“The only difference in what happened to Laura is that she became pregnant. That was the only change in their relationship. So if you put that into perspective, Reid was the risk factor for Laura,” Laura’s mother, Gwen Wallen, said.
Thirty-eight other states already have similar laws on the books. Voters in every jurisdiction, except Montgomery County, indicated they’re more than likely to vote for a candidate who supports expanding the law.
The law doesn’t infringe on a Maryland woman’s right to choose, but opponents have said it could be a slippery slope.