Okay boys and girls, let’s talk about fetal homicide.
In April of 2004, President Bush signed into law the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act.” That law made it a crime to harm an embryo or fetus at ANY stage of pregnancy during an assault on a pregnant woman. At this moment, about 36 states had similar laws on their books.
The first thing I gotta say is kudos to the pro-lifer movement. I mean, they come up with some great names for legislation, don’t they?
Second, I’m confused about this law.
So, if I understand it correctly: if a woman is carrying something in her belly that she wants to carry and that something dies because of someone else, then that other person can be prosecuted for the death of that something? But if that something is not wanted if that other person is an abortion doctor then that doctor can go in and terminate/kill/abort that same something and that would be perfectly legal? In other words, the determinative factor here is whether or not that something was wanted or not? One last time: if a pregnant woman was driving to the abortion clinic to get rid of her pregnancy and someone hit her car and caused the death of the unborn child, then that other driver can be convicted of manslaughter? And if there was no accident, minutes later the abortion doctor could do the same and suffer no consequences?
I can remember vividly when this legislation was introduced in the Congress. The immediate, joint (and private) reaction of the pro-choice community was “Holy Shit, what do we do now?” Were they ready to argue that if an 8 month old fetus died because of a third party, then the prosecutors should ignore that “baby?” You can imagine the discussions about how they should argue against that one.
Ultimately, however, they got language put in the bill that made it clear that the doctors could not be prosecuted if they were performing an abortion. That was pretty clever. Of course, the other side had to accept that language because if the effect of the law was to outlaw abortion outright, then the law would have been ruled unconstitutional.
Still, the pro-choice groups cringed when the bill came up for a vote but they did not really push their allies on Capitol Hill on this one because they knew it was a very, very tough vote. So, the bill passed by wide margins in the House and the Senate.
But there is one problem that still exists. There is now a law on the books that says that the person who committed this new crime could be punished for intentionally killing “a human being.” In other words, the U.S. Congress has now recognized that the fetus/baby in utero – no matter at what stage – is a “human being.”
In the grand scheme of things it might seem like a small thing. But at some point in the future, some clever pro-life lawyer will be arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and they will be able to say that the Congress has recognized that even a 5 week fetus is a “human being.”
The pro-choice groups did get language protecting abortion doctors, which was the short term victory. But in the long run, they may second guess the fact that they let the Congress go out and personalize the fetus. That might come around and bite them in the ass one day. And the reason why they let it go is because the pro-choice movement can talk about “choice” all they want but they still cannot talk (without stuttering) about ABORTION.