Today, Governor Pat McCrory signed Lily's Law, Senate Bill 117, to specify that it is murder when a child is born alive but dies as a result of injuries inflicted prior to birth.
"Lily's story is tragic and I hope no mother or child ever has to endure so much suffering," said Governor McCrory. "This bipartisan legislation aims to protect children in the womb as well as the mother from abuse and ensures offenders of such heinous crimes are justly punished."
Lily's Law is named after Lillian "Lily" Grace Broom, the daughter of Danna Fitzgerald. Danna Fitzgerald was shot in the abdomen by her estranged ex-husband, Robert Broom, when she was 27 weeks pregnant. Danna and Lily both survived the shooting but the injuries forced an emergency delivery and Lily died weeks later as a result of complications from premature birth. Broom was charged and convicted of first-degree murder.
Sponsored by Senators Rick Gunn, Warren Daniel and Shirley Randleman, Lily's Law strengthens North Carolina's child abuse laws to protect mothers who are attacked while pregnant. The law amends the North Carolina statute that defines the offenses of 1st or 2nd degree murder.
"I greatly appreciate the unanimous support of my House and Senate colleagues and Governor McCrory to codify in our General Statutes what the NC Courts have already spoken to as law," said Sen. Rick Gunn. "However, the true thanks go to Lillian's mother, Danna Fitzgerald, who used the tragic circumstances of her daughter's passing to further strengthen North Carolina's protections of innocent human life. No one can undo the acts of violence committed upon Lillian Grace Broom. We can however send a very clear message that North Carolina, as a civil and just society, will value human life and clearly punish the taking of it -- particularly at its most innocent and base level as was the case with Lily."
"Lily's Law is a much-needed law that will protect pregnant women and the children they are carrying from senseless acts of violence," said Sen. Warren T. Daniel. "I am proud to stand with Governor McCrory in making sure that we protect the Lily's of the future."
"Lillian's tragic situation alerted us to a potential loop hole in North Carolina law," said Sen. Shirley Randleman. "We have Ethen's law to protect unborn children, and this new law will provide the same protection for children who are born alive, but later die as a result of injuries inflicted prior to birth."
Lily's Law passed both houses of the General Assembly with unanimous consent.