PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1997, UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - February 25, 2004)
Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 529 and ask for its immediate consideration.
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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my opposition to this rule and to H.R. 1997, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. This bill unnecessarily redefines a crime. Why? Not to deter or prevent violence. It does not do that. Not to ameliorate the effect of violence. It does not do that. Not to help the victims of violence. It does not do that. There clearly is an ulterior motive here, a different agenda that the supporters have.
There is no question that the loss or harm to a woman and her fetus is absolutely devastating, and those who injure or kill a pregnant woman or her fetus should be punished, and families should have appropriate redress for their loss, but this bill would not accomplish that. This bill seeks to create a unique Federal criminal offense for acts that cause injury or death to an unborn fetus. Tellingly, it does not create any comparable offense for killing or injuring the woman bearing the fetus. I think that makes it clear that the real purpose here is not to protect the victims of violence, not to prevent violence, but to give the fetus equal legal status to the mother and thus to undermine the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade.
I challenge the supporters of this bill to be logically consistent and support the substitute permitted under this rule, the Motherhood Protection Act, which would severely punish crimes against pregnant women without unnecessarily engaging in the abortion debate. I would also remind my colleagues that protecting pregnant women is just one part of combating all forms of violence that threaten women across this Nation. We must renew our commitment to this issue and focus our efforts on passing measures that are aimed at protecting all women from violence, and here I challenge the supporters again to fully fund programs such as the Violence Against Women Act that actually provide lifesaving services to battered women.
I strongly urge my colleagues to reject H.R. 1997.