NOW Fights Right-Wing Assault on Abortion Rights, Urges Supporters to March on April 25th
March 26, 2004
"Under the guise of maternal and fetal protection, reproductive freedoms are once again under attack," said NOW President Kim Gandy, responding to yesterday's 61-38 Senate vote in favor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA). "This legislation is another underhanded attempt to roll back women's rights. Giving a fetus at any stage of development the same legal rights as the pregnant woman will undermine the right to abortion as guaranteed under Roe v. Wade."
Attempting to protect current abortion laws, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) proposed an amendment to the UVVA bill that would double the penalties for the crime, while defining the attack on a pregnant woman as a single-victim crime; the amendment failed in a close 49-50 vote.
"If members of Congress want to address the pervasive problem of violence against pregnant women, they need to pass increased funding for education and for enforcement," said Gandy. "Any injury inflicted on a woman, pregnant or not, should be prosecuted as a crime against the woman. We applaud Senator Feinstein and the concurring Senators who joined her in protecting Roe."
The sponsors of this cynical bill have devised a strategy to redefine the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the law to "persons," which has never been defined to include fetuses. The inventive language of this bill covers "a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development." Such a definition of "person" could entitle fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses to legal rights -ultimately, setting the stage to legally reverse Roe.
"This is a deceptive ploy that allows abortion foes to whittle away at women's reproductive rights," Gandy said.
"The approach taken in this bill is deeply misguided and does nothing to enhance protections for pregnant woman, who are at increased risk of domestic violence," said Gandy. "At the same time, abortion rights are under attack and it is time for us to fight back. I urge every person in this country who cares about women's reproductive rights and health, and decries these attacks, to march with NOW on April 25."
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