Fetal Rights

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Depending on who you talk to, Congress’ recent decision to pass the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” is either a blessing for women, or a blow. The law makes it a federal offense to harm an unborn child in an attack on a pregnant woman, and for the first time at the federal level, gives the fetus independent legal standing.

Supporters say the bill will help stop violence, because now the perpetrator of an attack against a pregnant woman will be charged with crimes against two victims, not one. But those opposing the bill see it as one more cut, in a well-orchestrated campaign to erode reproductive freedoms; that granting legal rights to the fetus, flies in the face of Roe v. Wade.


Marlene Fried, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College

Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life of America, based in Washington, DC

Sarah Childress, reporter for Newsweek magazine.