Close Vote in the Senate Almost Doomed Unborn Victims Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Close Vote in the Senate Almost Doomed Unborn Victims Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 2, 2004

Washington, DC ( — President Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act into law on Thursday, but a little-known story is beginning to emerge about a close vote that almost defeated the bill.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) put forward a proposal to replace the unborn victims bill with a measure that would have said there is only one victim when a pregnant women is attacked and her baby is killed or injured.

As senators came to the Senate to vote on her amendment, Feinstein stood on the floor lobbying those senators who she knew backed abortion, according to a Congressional Quarterly report.

With the tally at 48-47, pro-abortion Republican senators Ben Campbell of Colorado and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania were poised to cast their votes.

Feinstein courted Campbell and hugged him in hopes he would vote with her.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, stepped in immediately to heap a dose of affection on Campbell, who eventually voted against Feinstein’s proposal.

Frist also had to employ a little last-minute arm twisting in the halls outside the Senate chamber in order to gain the support of Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.

The Senate ultimately voted against the one-victim proposal 50-49 and several senators, such as Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who voted for the unborn victims bill, also supported the one-victim measure.

After waiting to make sure he wouldn’t be the deciding vote, Specter cast his vote in favor of the one-victim proposal, which was roundly criticized by the families of those women who have been victims of attack while pregnant. He is facing a tough primary challenge from pro-life Congressman Pat Toomey (R), who is expected to highlight Specter’s decision.