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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » US House of Representatives Passes Bill...

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Author Topic: US House of Representatives Passes Bill...
Gumdrop Girl
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The House passed a bill making the killing of a fetus during an assault a crime punishable by imprisonment.

Here's what I know so far, please fill in with your two cents:

An assault that results in the termination of a pregnancy can/will be prosecuted as two separate crimes -- assault on the mother, murder of her unborn child.

There is a clause that exempts abortions, practitioners of abortions, and mothers.

my thoughts on this: just how secure is that exemption clause? if the clause is secure, then i suppose i have no problem with the legislation. but that's an "if." if it were me in that scenario, and i was expecting a child, and perhaps i got mugged or something and my baby were to not survive the attack, then yes, i'd want those assailants flayed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. but i don't want any legislation interfering with my, or any other woman's, right to choose.

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The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly moving to a state of greater entropy s, therefore, delta s is always greater than zero.


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BruinDan
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Boy is this going to be messy a few years down the road.

I heard about this bill this morning and was a bit unnerved by what I heard. I can already see people lining up an argument here. "How come if an average Joe kills a fetus its considered murder, when a mother can choose to kill her fetus at will with no risk of punishment?" This is going to be a problem, I foresee it.

California has already had legislation that makes killing a fetus in non-abortion circumstances a crime. A few years ago, CA was the first state in the nation to charge a drunk driver with double-homicide for killing a pregnant woman. Her fetus was delivered stillborn after she had been pronounced dead. At the time, the argument I previously stated was brought up by the Defense Attorneys, but it failed to win over the jury, which convicted the drunk driver on both murder counts.

CNN aired a clip today of President Bush stating the he intended to sign the bill, but that he would not use it to scale back Roe v. Wade. Hopefully that will actually mean something.

I don't know about this one, GummyGirl...like you, I think I smell a rat here.

--Danny

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$uMMeR
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You're right BruinDan.

Those 'pro life' people could certainly use this bill to justify not allowing abortion.

I don't actually believe Bush when he says he won't use it to scale back Roe vs. Wade. That guy is a definite 'pro life' advocate.

But otherwise, I think it's probably a good thing.

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Bobolink
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Actually, this is the 2nd time the House of Representatives has passed such a bill. It couldn't get through the Republican-dominated Senate last time and I think there is less chance of an equally divided senate passing it this time.

In Canada, our Supreme Court has rulled that, under our constitution, a fetus has no legal rights.

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BruinDan
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Actually, the first bill was not passed because it gave the fetus far broader rights which would have implicitly outlawed abortion. Many Republicans were unwilling to risk political suicide by passing a bill which had such serious implications for abortion rights.

I read a littlebit of the text of this new bill today, and basically it is only Federally applicable. So it is more of a statement than anything else, since most criminal trials stemming from the deaths of fetus would be held at the State level.

Even so, its definitely something to keep an eye on...

--Danny

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Aquamarine
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That clause definitely makes me nervous. Like Dan, I could easily imagine the exemption clause in this bill used to justify making abortion a criminal procedure in the future. I hope that *that* future will never arrive.

If you haven't already checked it out, Roe v. Bush is an interesting site to look at, whether or not you support abortion.


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Gaffer
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I'm not surprised, there were one or two earlier rulings that decided the same thing. I am not even going to wonder how this will affect the world--my head hurts too much right now to attempt to predict the social ramifications of such a bill. Blech
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Daisyluv
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Sorry this is so long but I figured it would be good to see something about this topic from a pro-life point of view. And if anyone would like to learn more about "prolifeinfo" you can go to their website.
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From: The Pro-Life Infonet Weekly infonet@prolifeinfo.org
Subject: U.S. House Passes Unborn Victims of Violence Act
Source: Cybercast News Service, Associated Press, CNN, Reuters, Pro-Life
Infonet; April 26, 2001

U.S. House Passes Unborn Victims of Violence Act

Washington, DC -- In a bipartisan 252 to 172 vote, the House Thursday passed pro-life legislation that would make it a federal crime to kill or injure an unborn baby in the process of attacking a pregnant woman.

Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sponsored the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, was encouraged by the vote. The bill had 95 co-sponsors. "A bipartisan majority in Congress is committed to closing this scandalous gap in federal law. Once everyone got beyond the shrill rhetoric and looked at the facts, they realized what we are trying to do just made sense," Graham said in a written statement Thursday.

Abortion advocates opposed the bill as a first step toward defining an unborn baby as a person -- with the ultimate goal being to ban abortion. Graham pointed out that the bill received support from both pro-lifers
and abortion supporters in the House.

"There aren't 252 pro-life members in the House of Representatives. We picked up a lot of support from pro-choice members. I think that shows the bill isn't about abortion, but holding criminals accountable for their
actions," said Graham.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) applauded the vote, but booed the introduction of a "one-victim substitute" amendment that would have increased penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman, but would not make killing or injuring an unborn child a separate crime.

Pro-life legislators defeated the pro-abortion amendment before the final vote. The amendment failed on a 169-229 vote.

"Lawmakers who voted for the one-victim bill will have to explain why they voted to say that, when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman and kills her unborn baby, nobody has really died," said NRLC Legislative Director
Douglas Johnson. "These groups oppose any recognition that unborn children are members of the human family, even when their right to life is violated by criminal attackers," said Johnson.

The legislation, after passing 254-172 in the House last year, stalled in the Senate because of a veto threat from pro-abortion President Clinton. However, President Bush has indicated he supports this pro-life bill.

``This legislation affirms our commitment to a culture of life, which welcomes and protects children,'' President Bush said in a prepared statement as he traveled to Houston on Thursday.

The Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation's largest public policy women's organization, praised the vote. "The success of this vote shows the far-reaching support this legislation gained," said Michael
Schwartz, vice president of government relations for CWA in a written statement.
"The American people expect justice to be done; they believe criminals should be held responsible for taking a life. Legislators should support this bill as a deterrent to violent crime," Schwartz said.

"Violent assailants should not be given a pass for their crime because their victim was inside a loving mother's womb," said Wendy Wright, director of communications for CWA. "A mother or father should not suffer
a second assault of their child being ignored by our justice system."

"The Senate will be the next phase in our battle for justice," said Schwartz. "I believe the president's support will encourage the senators who know this is the right thing to do. The American people want
justice. They want this legislation signed into law."

Pro-abortion Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) attacked the bill saying all major pro-abrotion groups oposed it. "Most people understand that [Roe] is under attack and that's why the National Abortion Rights and
Reproductive Action League is opposed, Planned Parenthood Federation of America is
opposed, the National Abortion Federation is opposed, the National Women's Law Center is opposed," Conyers said. "You think they don't understand this bill very much? I think they do."

In one ad run in several publications this week by the National Right to Life Committee, a Wisconsin woman holds the body of her unborn son, who died when she was assaulted by her husband while nine she was months pregnant.

The woman, Tracy Scheide Marciniak, opposed the pro-abortion alternative proposal. "I was four days away from full-term, my due date, and my husband at the time brutally beat me in the stomach, twice hit me
purposely, and I lost my son because of that, and I almost lost my life," she said.

That story helped change Wisconsin law. At the time, her husband could be charged only for the injuries to his wife, not for murder. Now, Wisconsin and more than 20 other states have laws that treat violent crime against pregnant women as crimes against two separate individuals.

A recent poll reveals most Americans support the bill. American Online asked members today whether "it be a federal crime to harm a fetus." With 14,000 answers, 65.5% says yes, 26.9% said no and 7.6% said they were
unsure.


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Heather
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Please remember that Scarleteen is a pro-choice site.

I'll leave the previous post up, but it's important to look at the rhetoric used: calling someone who is pro-choice "pro-abortion," is propaganda, not an accurate measure of how that group or individual feels about choice or abortion.

(And as a note, the CWA is uber-miniscule compared to NOW. Calling it the "largest" women's policy organization is patently false.)

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Daniel
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Well, is passing this bill a good thing because people who harm foetuses (without the mother's permission ) deserve punishing, or a bad thing in case it leads to the derailment of womens' rights down the road? The slippery slope argument is not really valid, so I'd have to say, as much as I smell a rat, I have to supprt the bill.
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Laughs_Wisely
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Slippery Slope indeed...some folks on Hissyfit brought up an interesting point, though I doubt it is a massive concern for most people.

If a woman miscarries and someone suspects she may have induced it, this new bill could spark investigations into said miscarriage. Got me thinking about people poking around herbal abortions (which I'm admittedly fuzzy about) and 'accidents', not to mention nasty people who just want to torment the poor woman who had a miscarriage.


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Dzuunmod
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While I'm very much in the pro-choice camp, I do notice that the organizations that push pro-choice values are just as guilty of creating propaganda as are the pro-life organizations.

For instance, I've seen press releases and such from NARAL or whoever, saying that so-and-so is anti-choice, rather than pro-life.

This isn't something that's specific to one side.

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Heather
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It really depends.

Someone who states that women should not have the option to choose abortion IS anti-choice. Whereas someone who supports choice may or may not support abortion for themselves.

The real difference is *usually* the fact that those who are pro-choice allow for choice on an individuals behalf, regardless of what that choice is. Those who are pro-life are usually not only NOT supportive of abortion, but not supportive of it as an option, and not simply for themselves.

But, point noted, and agreed to some degree. One would truly -- in the mind of responsible reporting -- have to ascertain what an individual or group's real feelings are before calling them *either* pro-abortion (not even sure what that means, really, since I haven't met many people who advocate abortion for everyone) or anti-choice.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Gumdrop Girl
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Simpsons Reference

Abortions for all!
(boo hiss jeer)
Abortions for no one!
(boo hiss jeer)
Abortions for some, tiny flags for others!
YEA!

the Bill is supposed to include a clause that exempts the mother from prosecution under this law, that goes for whether she chooses to try to terminate her own pregnancy whether by punching herself in the belly or whatever other means. the Bill should also exempt doctors and medics who perform or assist in abortions.

but as i stated earlier, if this clause isn't air-tight, then i'm not going to back the bill. if the clause is air-tight, then i'm all for it.

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The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly moving to a state of greater entropy s, therefore, delta s is always greater than zero.


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silver snatch
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I think this is a gateway for attacking women and removing women's sovereignty over our own bodies. It is clearly an attempt to endow the fetus with personhood rights from the same legislators who opposed the Violence Against Women Act. As Katha Pollitt illustrates in this article from two years ago, most states that favor restrictions on abortions don't offer protections for battered women or services for kids.
http://past.thenation.com/cgi-bin/framizer.cgi?url=http://past.thenation.com/issue/991115/1115pollitt.shtml

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