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Public Statements

Unanimous Consent Request - S. 1019

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, I thank the majority leader and publicly acknowledge all the hard work on his behalf, working with my colleagues on the Democratic side. Senator Frist has been very responsive, trying to get this bill up for a vote, and it seems we are making progress. In terms of our leadership, I could not be more pleased with the efforts he has made to fill in this gap.

The Laci Peterson case probably explains the dynamic better than I could ever explain it. However, there has been an ongoing fight to fix this problem of the Federal law for many years. Senator DeWine has been the champion of this bill in the Senate. When I first introduced it in the House, in the 106th Congress, it passed by 254 votes to 172 with over 50 Democratic Members. A lot of pro-choice people voted for the bill because America does divide on a woman's right to choose evenly. But when you ask Americans if a woman chooses to have the child and that child is harmed while she is pregnant through criminal assault, about 80 percent of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, say together that the criminal should be prosecuted for both events, damage to the mother and the child.

There is a lot of bipartisan support for this bill. It passed in the 106th Congress in the House, 107th Congress in the House with over 250 votes, with Democrats and Republicans, pro-choice, pro-life people coming together. Senator DeWine has been an advocate for this bill since it originated. I thank him.

The reason we need this bill is because there are more events such as this than you would want to believe where people attack pregnant women, causing them to lose their child, and in a certain class of cases where the Federal jurisdiction is the exclusive form of prosecution, there is no right under Federal law for a prosecutor to go after the harm done to the unborn child.

[Page S9743]

In the Oklahoma City bombing case there was a lady working for the DEA. She was a secretary, Carrie Lenz. On the day of the bombing, she came to work early to show her coworkers an ultrasound picture of her unborn child, Michael Lenz III.
She was showing her coworkers the ultrasound picture and the building blew up, killing her and her child. In the House when we were doing hearings on this bill, the father, Michael Lenz, came to testify. He told us in very emotional, eloquent terms that that day he lost two things. He lost his son Michael James Lenz III and he lost his wife. If this law had existed, the prosecutor would have been able to prosecute Timothy McVeigh for two acts of violence, not one.

We need this bill. Unfortunately, these events do happen. And when they do happen, most Americans, a high percentage in polling, Democrats and Republicans in the House and I do believe in the Senate, would want the full weight of the law to go against defenders who attack pregnant women. I believe this bill will be signed by the President because he said he would sign it. I know it will pass the House. If we can get a vote in the Senate, it will pass the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote.

I thank Senator Frist for pushing this measure, and I hope we can accommodate our friends on the Democratic side to get a vote on this bill so that we can do something that will be very positive in this Congress, and that is make sure the people who attack pregnant women get whacked as hard as we can whack them.

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