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Text of an E-Mail from Sen. John Kerry (D-Ma.) on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act
June 27, 2003
Dear Mrs. ______:
Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 146, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important subject.
S. 146, introduced by Senator DeWine (R-OH), would make it a federal offense to injure or cause the death of a "child in utero." This legislation elevates the legal status of a zygote, an embryo and a fetus by treating the "child in utero" as a human being separate from the mother regardless of its stage of development. No knowledge of the pregnancy or intent to cause harm is necessary for prosecution. Under this legislation, women carrying pregnancies are exempt from prosecution, as are the medical professionals who perform abortions or provide emergency medical treatment.
Although this legislation exempts performing abortions from prosecution, this bill would clearly impact a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, as that right is set forth in Roe vs. Wade. I believe that an attack on a pregnant woman should carry increased penalties. However, legislation granting a fetus the same legal status in all stages of development as a human being is not the appropriate response. I have serious concerns about this legislation because the law cannot simultaneously provide that a fetus is a human being and protect the right of the mother to choose to terminate her pregnancy. Therefore, I do not support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me again on this or any other issue.
John F. Kerry
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