On Thursday, March 25, the Senate voted to make the killing of a fetus during the commission of a violent crime a separate federal offense in and of itself. Bush signed it into law in the following days, much to the chagrin of women's and pro-choice groups nationwide. Supporters of the bill claim the law seeks only to punish criminals; pro-choice advocates believe the law to be the herald of an abortion-rights apocalypse. The truth is somewhere in between; while the legislation sets Congress up for a possible pass at Roe v. Wade, the bill in and of itself is not unreasonable and certainly not worth the one-and-a-half million protestors that lined the streets of D.C. last Saturday.
First, the law doesn't even mention abortion. A minor detail, to be sure, but how can a piece of legislation that doesn't even mention abortion bring it down? Arguing that a law punishing criminals for killing fetuses is a "gateway" to the end of women's rights in America is like arguing that a law punishing criminals for killing a minority is the "gateway" to minorities ruling America circa the hate crime legislation. Sometimes accepting something at face value is critical, and this is one of those cases. The U.S. government has a long history of passing legislation to deter crime, admittedly not all of which has worked as effectively as once envisioned. But at least give it a chance. This is a law to deter crime, not to deprive women of their God-given "right" to an abortion.
Second, what the legislation describes is about as far from an abortion as one could logically get. An abortion is a termination of an unwanted pregnancy, whereas the law seeks to protect pregnant women and their presumably wanted fetuses. Consent is completely absent when a fetus is killed during a crime; comparing abortion to the death of a fetus is like comparing sex and rape. Consensual sex is not a crime, but rape certainly is. Abortion is not a crime. The only thing the new law says is that killing a fetus while committing a violent act is now a crime.
The benefits of a law to deter criminals from preying on pregnant women far outweigh and outdistance the outcry from paranoid woman's rights groups. Killing a mother and her child is a double murder. If a mother has a fetus inside of her, there are two lives dependent on one body and should be treated as such by the law and by the American public.
Nick Falgout. Nick Falgout was bored one day and decided to change his Chips staff information. And now, for a touching song lyric: "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case Get off my case, get off my case." ~ Radiohead, "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd … More »