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Legal protection for unborns pending in US

20 September 1999
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 26

The United States Congress is preparing to vote on a crime bill to give legal identity to fetuses. The Unborn Victims of Violence Bill, sponsored by South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, is designed to provide legal protection for fetuses killed in utero during federal crimes such as bank robberies, kidnapping or acts of terrorism. In such circumstances, the death of a fetus would be treated in the same way as the death of a child or an adult.

The Bill, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week, has been tabled largely in response to the Oklahoma bombing in 1995, where three pregnant women were killed. According to Michael Lenz, the husband of one of those women, the death toll at Oklahoma was 171, not 168. Pro-choice activists - and the New York Times - have hailed the bill as a thinly veiled attack on women's abortion rights.

The Bill will reach the House of Representatives next month, but it is thought that President Clinton would veto the bill if it gathers significant support.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Congress to vote on rights for unborn children
The Times |  16 September 1999
Crime Bill raising status of fetus moves forward
Washington Post |  15 September 1999
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