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Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT OF 2003 -- (House of Representatives - February 26, 2004)

Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 529, I call up the bill (H.R. 1997) to amend title 18, United States Code, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to protect unborn children from assault and murder, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Linder). Pursuant to House Resolution 529, the bill is considered read for amendment.

The text of H.R. 1997 is as follows:

H.R. 1997

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003" or "Laci and Conner's Law".

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.

(a) IN GENERAL.-Title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 90 the following:

"CHAPTER 90A-PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN

"Sec.

"1841. Protection of unborn children."§1841. Protection of unborn children

"(a)(1) Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby
causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.

"(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.

"(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that-

"(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or

"(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.

"(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

"(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.

"(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are the following:

"(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229, 242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1), and (i), 924(j), 930, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1153(a), 1201(a), 1203, 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513, 1751, 1864, 1951, 1952 (a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B), 1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231, 2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2340A, and 2441 of this title.

"(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(e)).

"(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2283).

"(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-

"(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;

"(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

"(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

"(d) As used in this section, the term 'unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term 'child in utero' or 'child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.".

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 90 the following new item:

"90A. Protection of unborn children

1841".

SEC. 3. MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM.

(a) PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.-Subchapter X of chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by inserting after section 919 (article 119) the following new section:"§919a. Art. 119a. Protection of unborn children

"(a)(1) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.

"(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under this chapter for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.

"(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that-

"(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or

"(ii) the accused intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.

"(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall, instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 880, 918, and 919(a) of this title (articles 80, 118, and 119(a)) for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

"(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.

"(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are sections 918, 919(a), 919(b)(2), 920(a), 922, 924, 926, and 928 of this title (articles 118, 119(a), 119(b)(2), 120(a), 122, 124, 126, and 128).

"(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-

"(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;

"(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

"(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

"(d) In this section, the term 'unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term 'child in utero' or 'child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.".

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-The table of sections at the beginning of such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 919 the following new item:

"919a. 119a. Protection of unborn children.".

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The amendment printed in the bill, modified by the amendment printed in part A of House Report 108-427, is adopted.

The text of H.R. 1997, as amended, as modified, is as follows:

H.R. 1997

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004" or "Laci and Conner's Law".

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.

(a) IN GENERAL.-Title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 90 the following:

"CHAPTER 90A-PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN

"Sec.

"1841. Protection of unborn children."§1841. Protection of unborn children

"(a)(1) Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.

"(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.

"(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that-

"(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or

"(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.

"(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

"(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.

"(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are the following:

"(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229, 242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1), and (i), 924(j), 930, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1153(a), 1201(a), 1203, 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513, 1751, 1864, 1951, 1952 (a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B), 1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231, 2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2340A, and 2441 of this title.

"(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(e)).

"(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2283).

"(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-

"(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;

"(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

"(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

"(d) As used in this section, the term 'unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term 'child in utero' or 'child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.".

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 90 the following new item:

"90A. Protection of unborn children

1841".

SEC. 3. MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM.

(a) PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.-Subchapter X of chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by inserting after section 919 (article 119) the following new section:"§919a. Art. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child

"(a)(1) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section and shall, upon conviction, be punished by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct, which shall be consistent with the punishments prescribed by the President for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.

"(2) An offense under this section does not require proof that-

"(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or

"(ii) the accused intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.

"(3) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall, instead of being punished under paragraph (1), be punished as provided under sections 880, 918, and 919(a) of this title (articles 80, 118, and 119(a)) for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

"(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.

"(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are sections 918, 919(a), 919(b)(2), 920(a), 922, 924, 926, and 928 of this title (articles 118, 119(a), 119(b)(2), 120(a), 122, 124, 126, and 128).

"(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution-

"(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;

"(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

"(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

"(d) In this section, the term 'unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term 'child in utero' or 'child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.".

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-The table of sections at the beginning of such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 919 the following new item:

"919a. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child".

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this terribly misguided bill. The bill before us today would give a fetus the same recognition as you or I for the first time in Federal law. Let me make something perfectly clear. The loss of a pregnancy under any circumstances is absolutely devastating to a woman and her family. Those who injure or kill a pregnant woman should be severely punished, and families should have the legal tools to have their loss recognized.
Instead of addressing the real issue at hand, the horrible pain for a woman who loses a pregnancy to an act of violence, this bill sends a message that women do not deserve to be safeguarded or valued in their own right; that it is only through their fetuses that they are entitled to any Federal protections against violence. This, in my judgment, is the wrong approach. Of course the woman matters. She matters when the baby is conceived, she matters when the baby is developing in utero, and she matters when the child arrives in the world; yet this bill does not make it a Federal crime to attack a pregnant woman. In fact, its sponsors have explicitly rejected amendments to protect a woman herself under Federal law.

The Lofgren substitute would do just that. It would severely punish crimes against pregnant women without undermining Roe v. Wade. It gets us to the same ends without the overtly political means.

If my colleagues want to crack down on criminals who attack pregnant women, support the Lofgren substitute. If my colleagues want to protect women from violence, let us fully fund the Violence Against Women Act.

Finally, if my colleagues are serious about protecting the unborn, let us focus on giving babies the best start we can by promoting the health of women throughout the entire pregnancy.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is not about shielding pregnant women or fetuses from violent acts, it is and has always about been undermining freedom of choice. Instead of finding new ways to revisit the divisive abortion battle, I believe Americans want us to focus our efforts on ways of providing women with access to prenatal care, affordable contraception, health care and violence prevention.

If we truly want to protect women and their pregnancies from harm, let us work together to enact legislation that deters and punishes violence against women without unnecessarily engaging in the abortion debate.

I urge my colleagues to vote no on H.R. 1997 and to support the Lofgren substitute.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE OFFERED BY MS. LOFGREN

Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I offer an amendment in the nature of a substitute.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment in the nature of a substitute.

The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as follows:

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Ms. Lofgren:

Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Motherhood Protection Act of 2004".

SEC. 2. CRIMES AGAINST A WOMAN THAT AFFECT THE NORMAL COURSE OF HER PREGNANCY.

(a) Whoever engages in any violent or assaultive conduct against a pregnant woman resulting in the conviction of the person so engaging for a violation of any of the provisions of law set forth in subsection (c), and thereby causes an interruption to the normal course of the pregnancy resulting in prenatal injury (including termination of the pregnancy), shall, in addition to any penalty imposed for the violation, be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is-

(1) if the relevant provision of law set forth in subsection © is set forth in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of that subsection, a fine under title 18, United States Code, or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both, but if the interruption terminates the pregnancy, a fine under title 18, United States Code, or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or both; and

(2) if the relevant provision of law is set forth in subsection ©(4), the punishment shall be such punishment (other than the death penalty) as the court martial may direct.

(c) The provisions of law referred to in subsection (a) are the following:

(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229, 242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1), and (i), 924(j), 930, 1111, 1112, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1153(a), 1201(a), 1203(a), 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513, 1751, 1864, 1951, 1952(a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B), 1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231, 2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2340A, and 2441 of title 18, United States Code.

(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848).

(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2283).

(4) Sections 918, 919(a), 919(b)(2), 920(a), 922, 924, 926, and 928 of title 10, United States Code (articles 118, 119(a), 119(b)(2), 120(a), 122, 124, 126, and 128).

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

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