Apr 26, 2001
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, on the U.S. House of Representatives floor, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) delivered the following remarks in opposition to H.R. 503, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Mrs. Maloney served as a whip for the opposition to H.R. 503.

"I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 503, the so-called Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Mr. Speaker, this is a direct attack on Roe v. Wade. This bill would recognize a fetus as an independent victim with legal rights. By defining a fetus as a child, it encourages the establishment of 'fetal rights' in other areas of law, specifically, abortion law. This law isn't about protecting women; it's about rolling back a woman's right to choose.

"H.R. 503 undermines the foundation of reproductive choice. But don't take my word for it, just look at the internal documents of the anti-choice movement. One anti-choice organization posted a notice on its web site saying this bill would be a 'landmark pro-life victory by recognizing the rights of the unborn.' The bill recognizes a zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus as a member of the human family and protected from assault or homicide.

"Do we know exactly what the legal and judicial ramifications of this bill are? No, we just don't know. But we know for sure that this bill does not protect women in any way. In fact, there is nothing in the bill about punishing the perpetrator for the crime against the woman.

"Even the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is opposed to the bill. And according to experts, current federal law already provides authority for the punishment of criminals that harm fetuses. Ronald Weich, former Special Counsel, U.S. Sentencing Commission, stated 'Because the bill is unnecessary from a criminal law perspective, I suspect that its purpose, instead, is to score rhetorical points in the perennial struggle over abortion rights.'

"I warn my colleagues that this bill is a sham. It is aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade. It is further aimed at marginalizing female victims. And it is plainly unnecessary. I urge you to vote no."