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April 2004

President Bush Signs Unborn Victims of Violence Act

President Bush shares a word with Sharon Rocha, mother of Laci Peterson and grandmother of Conner, just before signing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Others, left to right: Carol Lyons, with Buford Lyons behind her (parents of Ashley Lyons, grandparents of Landon), and Ron Grantski, stepfather of Laci Peterson.

President Bush Signs Unborn Victims of Violence Act Into Law, After Dramatic One-Vote Win in Senate

Surrounded by key congressional sponsors and members of victims' families, President Bush signs into law the Unborn Victim of Violence Act on April 1, 2004.

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2004) - - In a landmark right-to-life victory, President George W. Bush on April 1 signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as "Laci and Conner's Law."

The President's action culminated a five-year campaign by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) to win enactment of the legislation, which recognizes unborn children as victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of federal or military crimes of violence.

The President's action came just one week after the bill (H.R. 1997) survived a showdown in the U.S. Senate by a single vote - - 49-50. The anticipated Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), interrupted his campaigning to make a rare visit to the Senate to vote against the bill.


Pope John Paul II Affirms Obligation to Feed Patients in the "Vegetative" State

By Richard Doerflinger

Pope John Paul II profoundly changed the worldwide debate when he issued the first clear and explicit papal statement on the obligation to provide food and water for patients in a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS).

On March 20, speaking to participants in an international congress on the "vegetative" state, Pope John Paul II profoundly changed the worldwide debate on how to respond to this condition. He issued the first clear and explicit papal statement on the obligation to provide food and water for patients in a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS).

With the Pope's statement, the Church's teaching authority has rejected each aspect of the theory that opposes assisted feeding for patients in a PVS. The Pope's speech marks a new chapter in the Catholic contribution to efforts against euthanasia by omission.

For many years, and through many battles in courts and legislatures, pro-life groups have tried to ensure that these patients receive the food and fluids they need to survive. (Patients in the "vegetative" state have sleep/ wake cycles and so are not comatose, but by definition they show no sign that they are aware of themselves or their surroundings.)




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Vol. 31, No. 4


From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

A Great Day for Unborn Children ­
Let's Make it a Great Year!

By Father Dennis Day
NRL Treasurer

On April 1st, I was privileged to attend the President's signing of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in the East Room of the White House. After all the work we've done over the years, it was obviously a highlight moment, not only for me personally but for the entire pro-life movement.

When the President came by he reached back into the second row to shake my hand. "Thanks for coming," he said. You could see in his eyes that this President means it; he is truly appreciative of the work pro-lifers do.

I've been an officer of National Right to Life for many years now, and a board member for even longer, since 1981. In that time I've seen great progress in our movement. But there have been losses, too. Children born when I became a board member in 1981 are now adults. In fact, they are survivors of a generation whose annual abortion numbers exceeded 1.6 million.

Now the tide is turning the other way. There are 300,000 fewer abortions each year. Polls show that America is once again a pro-life nation, and this includes its young people.


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