Unborn Victims of Violence Act Heads to President Bush
by Steven Ertelt
March 26, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Unborn Victims of Violence Act now heads to President Bush after the U.S. Senate on Thursday handed pregnant women and their unborn children a major victory.
The legislation will be the third major pro-life bill to become law since Bush took office, following the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and a ban on partial-birth abortions.
The legislation would ensure that criminals who attack pregnant women and kill or injure their unborn children, on federal property in during the commission of federal crimes, can be charged with two crimes.
Senators voted 61-38 in favor of the bill after turning back two amendments that lawmakers said would gut the intent of the legislation. Earlier, members of the Senate defeated a one-victim substitute offered by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
The legalization of abortion has allowed some who would shirk their responsibility as fathers to attack their wives or girlfriends and attempt to kill the baby.
Sen. Lyndsey Graham (R-SC) said that three people in Arkansas were in prison "for the express purpose of killing a child … because they were hired by the boyfriend who didn’t want to pay child support."
Most the day’s debate centered on the dispute between pro-life lawmakers and abortion advocates about whether there are two victims in such crimes, both mother and child, or whether the unborn victims bill would overturn legal abortion.
Feinstein accused backers of the bill of wanting to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision and limiting embryonic stem cell research.
"That is exactly what the Right to Life movement wants to do. Once you have the egg being a human being than that egg during any stage of development deserves protection … this law makes that egg a victim."
"If you give a fertilized egg rights in federal law, it will have repercussions down line," Feinstein added. "The bill covers children that are not children, that are day old in the womb after conception."
But Graham disputed that contention, saying the bill focused solely on pregnant women and their children who are victims of horrible cases of violence.
The bill was about "when criminals attack pregnant women," Graham countered, saying the legislation contained an abortion exemption.
"I don’t know why you’d want to give a criminal a break if he goes around beating on pregnant woman," Graham added. "If you attack a woman of childbearing years, you do so at your own peril."
At one point in the debate, after Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, discussed the specifics of numerous cases of violence against pregnant women, Sen. Feinstein admitted the cases were "tragic" and that there are two victims.
"In fact, that child is a victim," Feinstein said, though she indicated law shouldn’t define unborn children as persons.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who has drawn criticism from pro-life groups for his support of destructive research involving human embryos, said the bill would not stop such research.
Massachusetts senator John Kerry, who backs abortion, voted no on the unborn victims bill. President Bush has long supported the pro-life legislation.