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Congress Debating Unborn Victims Act

July 8, 2003 - Posted at: 4:30 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON -- Legislators are debating whether a fetus should be considered a crime victim.

The "Unborn Victims of Violence Act'' was the subject of a House subcommittee hearing today. Panel chairman Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican, says most Americans recognize "the loss of a valuable life'' when a fetus dies as a result of violence.

Ranking Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York argues that the focus should be on violence against pregnant women. He says no one disputes that it should be a separate crime with harsh penalties of up to life in prison. The only dispute is whether to recognize a fetus as a person.

But Tracy Marciniak, whose fetus died after a violent attack, said no surviving mother should be told that her "murdered loved one never even existed in the eyes of the law.''

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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