Unborn Victims of Violence Act

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The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997) passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 254-163 on March 4, 2004, and now heads to the Senate. "If passed, the act will make it a crime to kill or harm an embryo or fetus while attacking a pregnant woman, therefore charging the criminal with two separate and punishable crimes. This is widely viewed as a win for anti-abortion advocates because it gives rights to an embryo or fetus at any stage of development. Those in opposition believe that this act could conflict with current Supreme Court rulings that govern a woman's right to have an abortion." [1]

"During the 107th Congress, the House passed the so-called Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA), in April 2001. The Senate did not consider the bill in 2002. The legislation (S.1019/H.R. 1997--renamed 'Laci and Connor's Law' after the Laci Peterson tragedy) has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) and in the Senate by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH). Anti-choice members of Congress are expected to push for consideration of this bill during the 108th Congress. If the bill passes the House and Senate, the president has vowed to sign it into law." [2]

The American Association of University Women state that "The proposed legislation defines an unborn child as 'a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.' Although the measure would exclude voluntary abortion, it is a back-door attack on reproductive rights because choice opponents could argue that the bill states that life begins at conception, which would become another stepping stone to further anti-choice legislation." [3]