Congress once again is addressing the question of whether the unborn have rights. The issue has torn American society for decades now, and there will be no end of it soon.
Even if Congress does decide the unborn have rights, it won’t be able to uniformly apply that policy. The unborn will have rights if their deaths are caused by some intentional means, but not if their deaths are caused by other intentional means. Regardless of what Congress decides, public policy on the issue of fetal rights will remain bifurcated.
The specific bill Congress is addressing this week is called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. It would allow federal prosecutors to charge a person with two murders for killing a mother and her fetus, or with one murder for an act that kills the fetus but the mother survives. The House passed this bill in 1999 and 2001, but the Senate never took it up. Now, with conservative leadership, it’s on the Senate’s agenda.
Not all such acts would be classified as federal crimes. The homicides must occur in the context of other federal offenses — terrorism, interstate stalking, crimes that occur on federal property — before the national law would apply.
In non-federal cases, state law would prevail. Arizona, for example, allows a person to be charged with manslaughter (but not murder) for "knowingly or recklessly causing the death of an unborn child at any stage of its development by any physical injury to the mother of such child which would be murder if the death of the mother had occurred." Twenty-two other states, in contrast, have no laws regarding fetal rights.
Pro-abortionists are up in arms over the proposed federal law because of its philosophical seed: The idea that unborn children are just that — children, albeit very young and undeveloped ones. As long as the unborn are mere embryos or fetuses or masses of tissue, they can be disposed of like, say, a tumor. Ascribing humanity to them greatly complicates the mental gymnastics used to justify their demise.
The bill specifically precludes charging abortionists with murder, but the pro-abortionists are worried anyway. And you know what? They may have reason to.
Not that a bill to overturn Roe vs. Wade is coming down the pike anytime soon. Not that the bill in question can or will be amended to include abortion per se. Not that the specter of a mighty government sticking its nose into every miscarriage is even remotely desirable.
But the bill is unquestionably an attack on abortion. It is an attack on abortion’s assertion that human life is disposable, often for the sake of mere convenience. Having this bill on the books might indeed give pause to those who til now have subscribed to the abortion industry’s antihuman propaganda. It would at least express the sense that human life has worth and that in some circumstances the willful killing of an unborn child is heinous in the eyes of the law.
That, indeed, must be a scary thought to the death industry.