WASHINGTON (BP)–A House of Representatives subcommittee approved March 21 a bill to provide legal protection for unborn children who are harmed during the commission of a federal crime.
The Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee sent on by voice vote the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would criminalize violence resulting in injury or death to an unborn child when it is committed during a violent federal offense against a pregnant woman. The full committee may consider the legislation as early as the week of March 26-30.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission supports the proposal.
Last year, the House of Representatives approved the legislation in a 254-172 vote, but the Senate failed to act on it. Though it did not reach his desk, advisers had urged President Clinton to veto the bill if it did.
Though the bill does not apply to an abortion consented to by the mother, pro-life and pro-choice advocates squared off on it in the last session as if it were a major battle in the continuing struggle since the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion legalized abortion.
The bill does not affect Roe v. Wade, the chief sponsor, Rep. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., has said.