The Associated Press reports the House has endorsed a measure that would expand Missouri's child abuse law.
The bill's sponsor says the current law makes it hard to prosecute people when a child dies from Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The bill would make it a crime to "recklessly cause head injuries" to any child.
Currently, abusers face up to seven years in prison.
This measure would raise prison time up to fifteen years, if the child is younger than two years old.
"Child abuse is despicable, and I have little sympathy for those who inflict it, especially in cases resulting in the death of the infant. However, the diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome (aka Abusive Head Trauma) has been increasingly under fire of the past several years, with many, many doctors now coming forward to state their concerns about how the diagnosis is being misused to convict the innocent. I'm not sure which is more despicable: sending an innocent, grieving parent to prison when their infant dies of natural causes, or the child abuse itself. In fact, even the man who created the diagnosis, A. Norman Guthkelch, is now "horrified" by the way his diagnosis has been perverted and over-diagnosed to the point that perhaps hundreds of innocent people are sent to prison every year. http://www.npr.org/2011/06/29/137471992/rethinking-shaken-baby-syndrome Furthermore, Dr. Waney Squier, one of the top infant neuropathologists in the world has stated that she feels that perhaps HALF OR MORE of Shaken Baby http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1382290/At-half-parents-tried-shaken-baby-syndrome-wrongly-convicted-expert-warns.html The UK and Canada have both begun to recognize the horrible mistakes that this faulty diagnosis have caused, but the United States is lagging far behind. And now we want to increase the penalty for crimes that may not even be real? This is madness. Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer recently wrote a paper on the problems regarding the prosecution of Shaken Baby Syndrome from a legal standpoint. In her opinion as well, some day we are going to have to come to terms with an injustice that we have never before faced in our legal system, and it will be monumental, as this diagnosis is eventually proven to be junk science. http://lawreview.wustl.edu/inprint/87/1/dtuerkheimer.pdf