Monday, March 29, 2004

A tough loss for left in abortion war: "These days the most intense political battles over abortion are being fought on the periphery of the issue. There are no attempts at the moment to ban abortion by constitutional amendment or to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the matter back to the states. Rather, the current debates are about a ban on some late-term abortion procedures, which is now being challenged in court, and about a federal law making it a crime to cause the death of a fetus during an attack on a pregnant woman, which was passed by Congress last week.

In the debate over the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which the Senate passed, 61-38, on Thursday, the prochoice side not only lost but also suffered some harm to its image. The law, which makes the fetus a separate crime victim, applies only to federal crimes and is thus unlikely to result in many actual prosecutions, but it has great symbolic significance to both sides: for the first time, federal law gives the fetus the full legal status of a person."

Before the vote on final passage, Senator Feinstein offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute (change the bill entirely) that would have gutted the critical intent of Congress to grant full legal status as a person to unborn babies. Her amendment was defeated by a narrow vote of 49-50. That's the real vote of record on this bill.

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