President Bush Signs Pro-Life Unborn Victims of Violence Act
by Steven Ertelt
April 1, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a touching ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President Bush signed a bill that will afford additional legal protections to pregnant mothers and their unborn children. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act will allow criminals to be punished twice when they kill or injure an unborn child as a result of attacking a pregnant woman.
"As of today, the law of our nation will acknowledge the plain fact that crimes of violence against a pregnant woman often have two victims," President Bush said. "And therefore, in those cases, there are two offenses to be punished.
"Under this law, those who direct violence toward a pregnant woman will answer for the full extent of the harm they have done, and for all the crimes they have committed," the president added.
Pro-life groups applauded President Bush’s latest pro-life action.
"We applaud the President for bringing justice to women and their children who are victims of violent crime," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
"Thanks to him, and to a bipartisan majority of Congress, a woman who loses her child to a brutal attacker in a federal jurisdiction will no longer be told that she has lost nothing," Ruse added.
Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said the law "merely recognizes what common sense tells us all: there are two victims when a pregnant woman is harmed."
Sharon Rocha and her husband, Ron Grantski, the parents of Laci Peterson, attended the ceremony along with the families of other women who have been victimized during their pregnancy.
Laci Peterson was eight months pregnant when she disappeared. Authorities later discovered she had been killed and the bodies of her and her unborn son Conner washed up on the shores of San Francisco Bay.
Laci’s husband Scott is undergoing the second week of a double-murder trial against him in their deaths. Prosecutors are able to use a California unborn victims law to charge him with two crimes.
"They have laid to rest their daughter, Laci, a beautiful young woman who was joyfully awaiting the arrival of a new son. They have also laid to rest that child, a boy named Conner, who was waiting to be born when his life, too, was taken," Bush explained.
"His little soul never saw light, but he was loved, and he is remembered," the president said. "All who knew Laci Peterson have mourned two deaths and the law cannot look away and pretend there was just one.”
"The success of this legislation is due in large part to the work of those families who have lost their pregnant daughters to violent crimes," FRC’s Perkins said. "They have used their tragic experiences to bring about a monumental positive change in our legal system."
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry opposed the bill. He voted against it and for a substitute opposed by families of women who have died that said there was only one victim when both mother and child perished.
Related web sites:
President Bush’s remarks – https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040401-3.html