WASHINGTON (April 1, 2004) -- Today President George W. Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as "Laci and Conner's Law" in memory of Laci Peterson and her unborn child. The law, which passed the House and Senate earlier this year with bipartisan majority votes, recognizes an unborn child as a second victim in a violent federal crime against a pregnant woman.
"We applaud the President for bringing justice to women and their children who are victims of violent crime," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "Thanks to him, and to a bipartisan majority of Congress, a woman who loses her child to a brutal attacker in a federal jurisdiction will no longer be told that she has lost nothing."
"The new law exempts abortion, but the abortion lobby fought it anyway," said Ruse, "because it commits the unpardonable pro-choice sin: In the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, it recognizes that a child in utero is 'a human being.'"
"Abortion activists recoil from any acknowledgment of a child's existence before birth, whatever the context, and however bizarre the argument, in order to protect the 'logic' of Roe v. Wade," Ruse said. "But a woman who has lost an unborn child in a violent attack deserves the law's recognition that both she and her child were victims of the crime. Anything less is an affront to women and their children."
Outside the context of abortion, unborn children are often recognized by the law. Most states allow legal recourse for prenatal injuries and recognize fetal homicide as a crime. Unborn children can inherit property, be represented by a guardian, and sue for a wrongful death if their father is killed. They are considered human subjects protected from harmful research, and can qualify as recipients of state-funded health insurance.
"Abortion advocates hold up Roe as if it were the standard by which all other laws should be judged, forgetting that legal abortion is the uncomfortable exception, not the rule, when it comes to the way the law treats unborn children," Ruse said. "The 'logic' of Roe v. Wade is like the Emperor's new clothes," Ruse added, "and the abortion lobby stands in fear of the day when this logic is revealed to be just as insubstantial."
"Let today's action be a warning to would-be attackers: If you commit violence against a pregnant woman and her child, your attack against both will be recognized and charged," said Ruse.