Cardinal Urges Senate to Pass Unborn-Victims Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 19, 2004 ( Cardinal William Keeler urged the U.S. Senate to pass a bill recognizing unborn children as second victims when their mothers suffer federal crimes of violence.

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The Senate is expected to vote on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act as early as next week.

«When a pregnant woman is assaulted or killed, and her unborn child is harmed or killed as a result, the crime has two victims — the woman and her child,» said Cardinal Keeler, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities.

«Without this new law, when a pregnant woman is herself the victim of a federal crime, any resulting injury to her unborn child — harm to which the woman obviously has not consented — goes unpunished,» the cardinal said.

Most states recognize and redress prenatal injury or death resulting from violence inflicted upon a pregnant woman. The Senate bill explicitly excludes abortion.

«It is disappointing that some insist the bill should be defeated to somehow preserve a ‘right’ to abortion,» Cardinal Keeler noted. «This bill simply ensures that both mother and child are protected from violent assault and murder.»

The House of Representatives passed the bill last month by a 254-163 vote.

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