Senate Turns Back Second "Killer" Amendment to Unborn Victims Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Turns Back Second "Killer" Amendment to Unborn Victims Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 26, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Abortion advocates have been criticized as not caring about violence against pregnant women due to their opposition to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. On Thursday they offered an amendment to the unborn victims bill in an attempt to shed that image.

Sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington senator who opposes the unborn victims bill, the amendment would have provided employment protections to victims of domestic violence.

Senators defeated the amendment after a point of order was made against it for violating aspects of previous budget limitation agreements.

"The Bush administration is cutting of freezing funding for domestic violence programs," Murray alleged. "They’re not willing to truly do something about victims of domestic violence," Murray said of those pro-life lawmakers opposing her amendment.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said the Bush administration is spending $400 million annual to combat domestic violence.

Pro-life groups described the Murray proposal as a "killer" amendment, saying it was only offered to bog down the unborn victims legislation with a 158-page proposal that would prompt some lawmakers to vote against the bill.

"Senator Patty Murray’s amendment to provide employment protections to victims of domestic violence is one which has nothing to do with the ‘Laci and Conner Act,’" The Christian Coalition said in a statement. "That issue can be debated another day."

One analyst says the Murray amendment is unneeded and some of the proposal’s goals are already addressed by current law.

Paul Kersey, of the Heritage Foundation, said, "current law already offers substantial protections and aid to such victims, and the proposed amendment would do little more than impose a substantial burden on employers."

Existing law already gives considerable protection to domestic abuse victims, Kersey said. The Family Medical Leave Act provides for up to twelve weeks of leave to care for a serious health condition or for a family member with a serious health condition.

"Eligibility for FMLA leave is not limited to physical injuries, and a victim who is undergoing psychological counseling may be eligible for FMLA leave even if his or her physical injuries are slight," Kersey explained.