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Unborn Victims of Violence Act Introduced in Senate

Far-right Republicans in the US Congress continued their attack on abortion rights last week with the introduction of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in the Senate. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) introduced the bill, which makes harming or killing a zygote, embryo or fetus while attacking a pregnant woman during the commission of a federal crime, a separate and punishable crime. The bill also gives personhood and rights to a zygote, embryo or fetus at any stage of development.

A similar bill was approved by the House in 2001, even though pro-choice lawmakers Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a substitute version that proposed equally tough penalties for a person who harmed or killed a zygote, embryo or fetus while attacking a pregnant woman, but did not give the zygote, embryo or fetus personhood or rights. The Senate did not approve any version of the bill.

The Feminist Majority joins other women’s organizations to oppose this bill – which is a loosely veiled attempt to undermine Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, by granting personhood to a zygote, embryo or fetus.

Sources:

The Columbus Dispatch 1/14/03; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Reports 1/17/03