WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 16, 01 (CWNews.com and AP) - A US House of
Representatives subcommittee has resurrected a bill that
would make it a felony to harm an unborn child during a
violent criminal act.
The bill, which critics say is an attempt to restrict
access to abortion, was first proposed last year, but died
in the Senate when former President Bill Clinton said he
would veto it. Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, the
measure's sponsor, said, "I think most Americans see the
need for this and understand the logic of it. States have
had the same statute for many years now."
President George W. Bush has signaled his willingness to
sign the bill if it reaches his desk. Douglas Johnson,
legislative director for the National Right to Life
Committee, said Bush's election "does remove one very
Pro-life lawmakers say it's a fairness issue that ensures criminals are,
as pro-life Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) said, ``justly punished for injuring
or killing unborn children.'' Abortion advcates contend it is the pro-life
advocates latest attempt to chip away at the so-called right to abortion
by defining an unborn child as a person with rights separate from the
``The implication seems to be that this bill is driven by the politics of
abortion,'' said pro-abortion Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the ranking
Democrat on the House Judiciary's Constitution subcommittee, which held a
Thursday's debate highlighted what is likely to be an important and
oft-debated issue this legislative session as pro-life lawmakers, buoyed
by having a pro-life president in the White House, attempt to pass
numerous pieces of pro-life legislation.
Last time, a similar bill passed the House 254-172 last year
but never made it out of the Senate.
"This bill offers real protection to the unborn against acts of violence,"
said Holly Gatling, President of the South Carolina Citizens for Life. "A
majority of states already have similar statutes on the books. It's time
we make this important change in federal law as well."