Senate Approves Unborn Victims of Violence Act

( [email protected] ) Mar 25, 2004 07:17 PM EST

WASHINGTON – After a long hours of debate, the U.S. Senate voted to pass Unborn Victims of Violence Act , which would make it a federal crime to harm or kill an “unborn child,” signaling victory for pro-lifers.

The bill states a violent federal crime committed against a pregnant woman would also apply to her unborn child. The legislation defines an "unborn child" as a child in utero, which it says "means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

"This bill recognizes that there are two victims," said Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, a chief sponsor. Americans, he said, "intuitively know that there is a victim besides the mother."

Displaying photos of fetuses and graphically describing such attacks, backers said the bill would discourage assaults on women and recognize the loss and grief when a wanted pregnancy was violently ended by a criminal act.

The anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee strongly backs the legislation. But the American Civil Liberties Union called it a "thinly veiled attempt to create fetal rights and further erode women's reproductive rights."