The Unborn Victims of Violence Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives has caused quite an uprising in the pro-choice community. Under the Act, a person who attacks a pregnant woman in a manner that terminates her pregnancy can be charged with murder or manslaughter. Opponents say that the bill is little more than a poorly disguised attack on a woman”s right to choose they say that if the Senate passes the bill, it can be used later as evidence that fetuses are human beings. While this is a valid concern, there are provisions in the bill designed to prevent it from threatening a woman”s right to choose in the future.
In fact, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act was written with women”s reproductive freedoms as the first priority. Its primary purpose is to punish those who would take away a woman”s right to choose to the fullest extent of the law. Under current law, should a fetus be destroyed during the assault of a pregnant woman, the perpetrator can be charged only with assault. It is only fitting to stiffen the penalty of a criminal who violates the reproductive rights of another the Senate should follow the example of the House and pass this bill.
While critics claim that this bill is an anti-choice measure in disguise, the actual text of the bill reveals otherwise: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child or of any woman with respect to her unborn child.”
Noting the bill”s explicit reaffirmation of women”s reproductive freedom, this bill should be viewed as a greater protection of women”s rights. The bill specifically guarantees the full protection of the law to women who choose abortion, so it need not be feared that it could be used in future cases against women”s reproductive freedoms.
As this bill is brought before the senate it should be passed the measure will protect woman without infringing upon their rights. The bill is clearly worded so as not to be misconstrued as an attack on women”s reproductive rights and it rightfully enables victims of violence to seek more severe punishments for their attackers. Every effort should be taken to ensure that the violent violation of women”s rights is punished swiftly in accordance with the dictates of justice.
Neither should this bill present itself as an opportunity for partisan politics. The bipartisan support which enabled this bill to pass the house should continue in the senate. Whether an elected official is pro-choice or pro-life should not deter them from emphatically reaffirming a bill which protects women. So long as abortion is explicitly exempted from this bill it cannot be used as a weapon to restrict reproductive rights, and as this bill does not infringe upon the woman”s right to choose, it should be passed as a reaffirmation of freedom.