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Public Statements

News Conference - Unborn Victims of Violence Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Federal News Service

February 26, 2004 Thursday

HEADLINE: NEWS CONFERENCE
SUBJECT: UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT

PARTICIPANTS: REPRESENTATIVE MELISSA HART (R-PA); REPRESENTATIVE ROY BLUNT (R-MO); REPRESENTATIVE STEVE CHABOT (R-OH); CAROL AND BUFORD LYONS, PARENTS OF A PREGNANT MURDER VICTIM, SPEAKING IN SUPPORT OF THE UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT

LOCATION: HC-6, THE CAPITOL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BODY:

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

REP. CHABOT: Thank you, Melissa. And I want to thank you for your leadership on this bill and introducing it once again.

We've passed this in the Congress now, in the 106th and the 107th Congress, in the House, but we've been unable to get the Senate to act. We are most hopeful that the Senate will finally act in this Congress and we can get this passed into law. This is, after all, about protecting what is in reality two separate lives. The mother's life has been destroyed, but so has this innocent unborn child that she's carrying.

And there are-this is not as rare as one thinks it might be. It happens far too often.

We had a photograph of Tracy Marciniak that we utilized on the floor of the House during the debate upstairs. And it's a picture of Tracy holding her eight-month-old child Zachariah at the funeral of Zachariah. And when Tracy Marciniak testified in our committee as to why she thought we should pass this legislation, she said, "I want all of you to look at that picture up there and tell me how many victims do you see?" And it was obvious there are two; it was Tracy and her son Zachariah.

And now we see the Lyons come forward.

And I know that-I used to debate this because, again, this isn't the first Congress that we've taken this up. But we had a case that happened in my state in Ohio. And I'm just across the river in Cincinnati-and this happened at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, where an airman-he was a sergeant-attacked his wife and brutally punched her in the stomach area. She survived, but the unborn child did not. Now, because Ohio had, shortly before that, passed a law, it was two separate offenses and he could be prosecuted and was prosecuted for both of those victims. But I used to make a statement, as did others using that case, "But had this happened right across the river in Kentucky, there could not be two prosecutions." So in essence, you're only acknowledging the existence of one life in that case.

And to a family that has to go through this trauma, that makes a tremendous difference because they know how much they loved that child that would have been born not too far off into the future. And it means an awful lot. And that's why this legislation is important.

At the federal level, it will affect-if there's a federal statute involved, if it happens on a military base, if it happens in a national park, if somebody stalks the wife across state lines, for example, so there are many instances when the federal law would take effect. But I would also encourage states to pass this law, as now Kentucky is doing. It's just unfortunate that Kentucky waited too late to pass the law.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Q I have a question for Congressman --

REP. HART: You are?

Q Cox Newspapers --

REP. HART: Thank you.

Q-specifically, Ohio --

REP. HART: Thank you.

Q-for Congressman Chabot. How similar is this to the daily law that you kind of mentioned in passing, where you're speaking about the law that had just passed before the incident at Wright-Pat?

REP. CHABOT: Which-are you talking about the law that was-under Joe Deters that was-in Ohio?

Q Yeah.

REP. CHABOT: Yeah. My work-I believe, and I'd have to sit down and read Ohio's law exactly, but I think they're quite similar.

Q Thank you all.

REP. HART: Anybody else?

Q Thank you.

REP. HART: Thank you all very much.

Q Thank you very much.

END

LOAD-DATE: February 28, 2004

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