WASHINGTON (March 26, 2004) -- Yesterday a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, S. 1019, by a vote of 61-38. The bill, also known as "Laci and Conner's Law" in memory of Laci Peterson and her unborn child, recognizes an unborn child as a second victim in a violent federal crime against a pregnant woman. It will now be sent to the President, who has promised to sign it into law.
"We applaud the Senate for voting for justice for women and their children," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "No woman should ever be told she lost nothing when she loses her child to a brutal attacker."
Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, recently reiterated the need for this law in a letter to a California Assemblywoman:
"When a criminal attacks a woman who carries a child, he claims two victims. I lost my daughter, and, I also lost my grandson. Fortunately, California law allows a double homicide charge in such a case. But if Laci and Conner had been killed in a federal jurisdiction, or during commission of a federal crime of violence, Conner's death would not be recognized or charged."
The bill passed the House of Representatives three times; today's action marks the first Senate vote on the bill. The Bush Administration has indicated its strong support for prompt enactment of the bill.
The Senate voted down a substitute bill supported by abortion advocates that would have ignored the child as a second victim in violent federal crimes. "We are grateful to the Senate for ignoring the offensive claims of the abortion lobby and its allies in Congress," Ruse said. "Abortion activists may recoil from the acknowledgment of a child's existence before birth, but their efforts to erase the child as a second victim in a violent crime are an insult to all women and families who have lost a loved one to violence."
"Here, as elsewhere, abortion activists are working against the real interests of women. Women deserve better than this," Ruse added.
"We urge the President to swiftly sign this important bill into law," said Ruse.