'Ethen's Law' to take affect Thursday

December 2, 2011 8:14:51 PM PST
State lawmakers are praising a new bill that takes effect Thursday that provides justice for pregnant mothers and their unborn children.

"Ethen's Law" is named after Jenna Nielsen's unborn son. Nielsen was killed in 2007 as she delivered newspapers in Raleigh.

Nielsen was weeks away from giving birth to a son named Ethen when the killer struck.

That's why lawmakers like Speaker Pro-Tem Dale Folwell backed Ethen's Law.

"I'm very proud and very humbled to have this law named after my grandson," said Kevin Blaine.

"You would expect us to be ecstatic going into tomorrow. But our only thoughts are not to be happy, but to know that we did everything that we could as legislators by listening to these grieving parents," said Folwell.

Neilsen is not the only pregnant woman murdered in North Carolina. The murders of Maria Lauterback in December 2007 and Michelle Young in November 2008 also generated extensive coverage.

Effie Steele knows the pain of those families. Her daughter, Ebony Robinson, was also pregnant when she was killed. Steele stood Wednesday with the backers of Ethen's Law and talked about Elijah, the grandson she lost.

"He was in the casket with Ebony... a full grown baby," said Steele. "The murderer was not charged. No other family will have to go through what we had to go through."

The law becomes effective Thursday.

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