Pregnancy & Parenting Communities
Why? Well that would be due to the political maneuvering that brought about the UVVA, when the same folks shot down the Motherhood Protection Act that would have provided far more stringent punishments to those who hurt a woman than does the UVVA. The UVVA was a thinly veiled piece of garbage more concerned with trying to assert fetal personhood than provide the teeth necessary to protect a woman.
Bill at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.2219.IS:
http://www.house.gov/lofgren/news/2001/010425.htmLOFGREN INTRODUCES MOTHERHOOD PROTECTION ACT
Offers Middle Ground in Protecting Pregnant Women and Their Unborn Children
April 25, 2001
(Washington, DC) - Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced an amendment to the controversial Unborn Victims of Violence Act under consideration in Congress this week. Her legislation, the Motherhood Protection Act, is a bi-partisan compromise bill to protect pregnant women from violence without creating a constitutional challenge. Both bills try to address violent crimes that cause prenatal injury or miscarriage.
"The Motherhood Protection Act increases the penalty an assailant may receive, up to a life sentence, if someone attacks a pregnant woman and causes a prenatal injury or a miscarriage," said Lofgren. "Denying motherhood to a woman who yearns to become a mother is a truly horrendous crime. It should not be caught up in the abortion debate."
The Motherhood Protection Act recognizes that existing federal law protects women from violent assault and creates an additional crime when that assault compromises a pregnancy or causes a miscarriage. Someone who attacks a pregnant woman and injures her unborn child or causes her to have a miscarriage can be sentenced to life imprisonment. It does not matter whether the assailant knew or intended to cause prenatal injury or miscarriage. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA) only allows for a life sentence if someone intended to cause harm to a fetus.
Currently, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is seen as a thinly veiled attempt to legislatively overturn Roe v. Wade and does not even mention the harm to the woman. The bill's definition of "in utero" makes a two-celled fertilized egg (zygote) a person. Not only is this constitutionally questionable, it causes the legislation to get mired in the abortion debate. The Motherhood Protection Act is an effective middle ground compromise that can protect both the woman and the unborn child without leaving the bill open to a constitutional challenge.
"If Congress is serious about protecting a mother and her unborn child, they would pass the Motherhood Protection Act," said Lofgren. "However, the Republican leadership appears to be using the tragedy of violence against women to further their pro-life agenda. It is apparent from their delay in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and their cuts in domestic abuse funds that they are only concerned about violence against women when it furthers their agenda."
Julie Fulcher of The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has come out in opposition to the UVVA because it "is not designed to protect women…. The result is that the crime committed against a pregnant woman is no longer about the woman victimized by violence." They are concerned that the legislation will divert the attention of the justice system away from violence against women.
Bill as passed: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ212.108http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:H.R.1997:
UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT OF 2004
Public Law 108-212108th Congress
To amend title 18, United States Code, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to protect unborn children from assault and murder, and for other purposes. <>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress <Act of 2004.>> assembled,
SECTION 1. <> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004'' or ``Laci and Conner's Law''.
SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.
(a) In General.--Title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 90 the following:
``CHAPTER 90A--PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN
``Sec.``1841. Protection of unborn children.
``Sec. 1841. Protection of unborn children
``(a)(1) Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section. ``(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother. ``(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that-- ``(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or ``(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.
``(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being. ``(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section. ``(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are the following: ``(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229, 242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1), and (i), 924(j),
930, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1153(a), 1201(a), 1203, 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513, 1751, 1864, 1951, 1952 (a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B), 1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231, 2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2340A, and 2441 of this title. ``(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(e)). ``(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2283).
``(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-- ``(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law; ``(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or ``(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.
``(d) As used in this section, the term `unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term `child in utero' or `child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.''. (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 90 the following new item:
``90A. Protection of unborn children.............................1841''.
SEC. 3. MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM.
(a) Protection of Unborn Children.--Subchapter X of chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by inserting after section 919 (article 119) the following new section:
``Sec. 919a. Art. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child
``(a)(1) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section and shall, upon conviction, be punished by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct, which shall be consistent with the punishments prescribed by the President for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother. ``(2) An offense under this section does not require proof that-- ``(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or ``(ii) the accused intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.
``(3) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall, instead of being punished under paragraph (1), be punished as provided under sections 880, 918, and 919(a) of this title (articles 80, 118, and 119(a)) for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.
``(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section. ``(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are sections 918, 919(a), 919(b)(2), 920(a), 922, 924, 926, and 928 of this title (articles 118, 119(a), 119(b)(2), 120(a), 122, 124, 126, and 128). ``(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-- ``(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law; ``(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or ``(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.
``(d) In this section, the term `unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term `child in utero' or `child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.''. (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 919 the following new item:
``919a. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child.''.
Approved April 1, 2004.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1997 (S. 1019):---------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-420, Pt. 1 (Comm. on the Judiciary).CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 150 (2004): Feb. 26, considered and passed House. Mar. 25, considered and passed Senate.WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004): Apr. 1, Presidential remarks.
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.
This legislation would create a separate criminal offense if an individual kills or injures an “unborn child” while committing a federal crime against a woman. 1 The specific language of the bill establishes for the first time that a zygote (fertilized egg), embryo (through week eight of pregnancy), and fetus would be recognized as a person distinct from the pregnant woman.
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.
Acts of violence committed against pregnant women are tragic and should be appropriately prosecuted, but this legislation would do nothing to prevent violence against women. Although the sponsors of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act claim to advocate for the protection of women from violence, this bill fails to address the needs of the woman by ignoring the fact that any assault that harms a pregnancy is inherently an attack on the woman. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act would create separate legal rights for the fetus, thereby eroding a woman’s right to reproductive choice. The bill would also undermine the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which held that a fetus is not a person within the meaning of the 14th Amendment.
Violence Against Women Should Be the Central ConcernTo ensure continuation of a woman’s right to live in a safe environment, AAUW also supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2000, which extended the original Violence Against Women Act for five more years and authorized more than $3 billion over five years to support state and local efforts to protect and assist victims of gender violence. This legislation expanded the original act to assist elderly and disabled women who are victims of violent crimes, created a national resource center on sexual assault, and brought attention to the impact of violence on women’s work lives. 2 The 2000 VAWA reauthorization supports a range of programs that promote healthy childbearing. It continues the commitment of the original VAWA by expanding victims’ services and providing grants for law enforcement and prosecution to combat violent crimes against women. 3
Murder is the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the United States.4 While AAUW supports legislation to prevent and punish violent crimes against women, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act does nothing to this end.
Rather than creating separate legal rights for the fetus, Congress should enact the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which would extend current hate crimes law to cover crimes targeting people based on their gender. The act would also cover crimes targeting people based on sexual orientation and disability; strengthen the federal response to hate crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin; and expand federal jurisdiction to cover the most violent of these crimes.
Congress could also bolster its efforts on behalf of pregnant women by increasing penalties if the woman suffered injury to her fetus or miscarried. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has introduced an alternative bill, the Motherhood Protection Act of 2003 (H.R. 2247), which would create a separate criminal offense for harming a pregnant women and offer penalties matching those in the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. By not establishing the fetus as a separate victim, the Motherhood Protection Act still addresses the problem of violence against pregnant women without calling into question the validity of Roe v. Wade.
Further, by advocating for the separate, legal rights of the fetus, it is clear that the purpose of this legislation is not to protect women from violence, but to undermine a woman’s right to choose. In fact, sponsors of this legislation oppose access to family planning and abortion.
Contact: Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, 202/785-7793Lynsey Morris, Government Relations Manager, 202/785-7793
AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations DepartmentFebrurary 2004
1 Alan Guttmacher Institute. The Guttmacher Report, Volume 5, Number 1, February 2002. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/gr050111.html 2 The National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/tfindex.shtml 3 The National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/tfindex.shtml4 Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001; 285: 1451-1459.
support systems for women who are in undesirable situations. For example I think if there is a documented history of abuse a man should loose all rights to see and children he fathers with a woman
I dont. Having come from an abusive marriage I did what I had to do to protect my children. But having thier fathers rights completely stripped would have worked against me. I would have lost any CS, I would has been "to blame" for the kids loss of thier relationship with thier father.
I dont get the right to cut off ties with my kids dad. Thats the kids call. I get to protect them. But not dictate if they have a relationship with thier own father.
*Praying for my best friend, my Dad*
Yes, it's called Roe v Wade.
Of course, that's just an answer to one interpretation of the question. You didn't specify what you meant when you said abortion - if you are talking legality of it, moral aspects surrounding it, funding of it, or referring to it as the only alternative to unwanted childbearing.
For instance - if you are pregnant, and do not want to bear a child, there is no alternative, no middle ground. You either have a child or you have an abortion.
If you are talking about access, there is a range of options - funded or unfunded (which can deny access to some), limited by gestational age (again - a range of options) or if there are conditions of conception (did the woman want sex or didn't she).
Personally, I think that it's a medical matter, and any restrictions should be determined by the medical community (not legislators), based on their collective knowledge of what is safe for the woman. I don't see a middle ground where that's concerned - you either listen to the medical community on this, or you ignore them.
The medical community says that abortion should be legal and accessible, in the interest of public health.