[FoRK] What Is Human? Ugh...
jbone at place.org
jbone at place.org
Thu Feb 26 11:38:08 PST 2004
Down that slippery slope on a 'toe sack...
Note the implication:
> The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was approved 254-163 after the
> House rejected a Democratic-led alternative that would have increased
> penalties for those attacking a pregnant woman but continue to regard
> the offense as perpetrated on one victim.
House passes bill to protect fetuses
WASHINGTON (AP) --The House voted Thursday to subject assailants who
injure or kill a pregnant woman and her fetus to two separate crimes.
The bill would for the first time under federal law give victim's
rights to a fetus.
The bill, championed by conservative groups, drew opposition from
others concerned that conferring new rights on the fetus would
undermine abortion rights.
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was approved 254-163 after the House
rejected a Democratic-led alternative that would have increased
penalties for those attacking a pregnant woman but continue to regard
the offense as perpetrated on one victim.
"That little unborn child is intrinsically precious and valuable and
deserving of standing in the law and protection," argued Rep. Henry
The legislation now must be taken up by the Senate, where abortion
rights forces are stronger and passage is more uncertain.
President Bush has promoted the bill, an election-year priority for his
Supporters said Americans were solidly behind making an attack on a
pregnant woman subject to two crimes.
Criminal law, said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James
Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, "is an expression of society's values," and
anything less than making a woman and the unborn child separate victims
"does not resonate with society's sense of justice."
But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said Republicans were opting for
an election-year abortion issue instead of backing a less controversial
approach that would make attacks on pregnant women a single, but more
serious crime. "Real people are suffering real harm while this House
has played abortion politics instead of acting to punish truly barbaric
Backers said the measure was needed to bring federal law in line with
29 states where those who attack pregnant women can be charged with two
crimes when the fetus is harmed, including murder.
One of those states is California, where Scott Peterson is on trial for
the murder of his wife Laci and her unborn boy Conner. The bill has
also been designated Laci and Conner's Law.
The Democratic-led opposition, however, says the real aim of the
legislation is to undermine abortion rights by giving the unborn the
same legal rights as the born. They charged that abortion politics was
taking precedence over the need to protect abused women.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, said it would affect a woman's
reproductive rights. It "is not about women and it is not about
children. It's about politics."
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, offered an alternative that would
increase penalties for attacks leading to the interruption of a
pregnancy but would not confer separate legal rights to the fetus. It
was defeated, 229-186.
The White House, in a statement, said it opposed such an amendment but
voiced strong support for the base bill.
The House passed similar bills in 1999 and 2001. The bill again faces
an uphill fight in the Senate with its stronger abortion rights forces.
The Senate did not take up the two previous House bills.
The legislation would apply only to attacks on women that qualify as
federal offenses. Those would include such crimes as terrorist attacks,
bank robberies, drug trafficking or assaults on federal land.
The sponsors of the bill, led by Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pennsylvania,
said they were not out to undermine abortion rights and their bill
specifically precludes from prosecution those who perform legal
"This bill is not about the debate over the sanctity of human life.
This bill is just about justice," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana.
Groups on both sides of the abortion issue have weighed in heavily on
The National Right to Life Committee urged its supporters to lobby for
the legislation and carried on its Web page a 2003 e-mail from
Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. John Kerry voicing opposition
to a Senate version.
NARAL Pro-Choice America said Congress must do more to protect pregnant
women from violence but said the unborn victims bill was a "deceptive
attempt to erode Roe v. Wade," the Supreme Court decision affirming a
woman's right to end a pregnancy.
The legislation defines "unborn child" as "a member of the species homo
sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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