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. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank my good friend for yielding time.
Mr. Speaker, why would Planned Parenthood and a virtual who's who of abortion activists in America so vehemently oppose the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and promote a gutting substitute in its stead? Why would they take a position so extreme that 80 percent of Americans oppose it?
Why is it that on the floor of this House, so many intelligent, talented, and gifted lawmakers to whom so much has been given are going to such great lengths to deny basic protections in law for an unborn child who has been shot, beaten, stabbed, or otherwise mauled by an attacker, even taking the irrational step of opposing a definition that was overwhelmingly passed in this body 417 to zero?
Could it be that America's abortion culture, a culture of death, has so numbed our hearts and dulled our minds that we have become unwilling, or perhaps incapable, of recognizing the obvious? Could it be denial with a capital D?
Amazingly, as a result of breathtaking breakthroughs in medicine, today unborn children are often treated as patients in need of curative procedures in healing just like any other patient. Is the concept of an unborn child as a victim really so hard to grasp, even when we are not talking about abortion, but assault by a mugger? Have the soothing voices of denial by credentialed people, especially in medicine and the media, ripped off our capacity to think?
Has the horrific spectre of almost 45 million poisoned or dismembered babies legally enabled by Roe v. Wade robbed us of our capacity to see and understand and empathize? Is it a lacking in logic or courage or common sense or compassion? Have unborn children become mere objects, a dehumanizing and deplorable status that feminists rightly rebel against? Should a mugger, like an abortionist, have unfettered access to maim or kill a baby without triggering a separate penalty for the crime?
For years, Mr. Speaker, Congress has updated and strengthened laws and stiffened penalties for those who commit violence against women, and that is as it should be. In December of last year, President Bush signed my comprehensive antitrafficking legislation, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2003, and before that President Clinton signed landmark legislation that I authored the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, 2000. I would remind my colleagues that included in my law as Division B was the Violence Against Women Act, a $3.2 billion 5-year authorization for a multitude of efforts to mitigate Violence Against Women, provide shelters, and a myriad of protection initiatives.
So women who are victims of violence clearly need every legal protection, shelter and assistance a caring society has to muster, but I would respectfully submit to my colleagues so do children. A victim is a victim, it seems to me, no matter how small. Why is it so difficult to recognize an unborn child as a victim who is also capable of suffering severe trauma, disfigurement, disability, or even death? Unborn children feel pain when they are shot or beaten. They bleed and they bruise easily. Unborn children are as vulnerable as their mothers to an assailant wielding a knife, a gun, or a steel pipe.
Mr. Speaker, the amniotic sac is like a protective bubble, but it is not made of Kevlar. It pierces easily. Support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
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