The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a “child in utero” as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb”.[1]
The law is codified in two sections of the United States Code: Title 18, Chapter 1 (Crimes), §1841 (18 USC 1841) and Title 10, Chapter 22 (Uniform Code of Military Justice) §919a (Article 119a).
The law applies only to certain offenses over which the United States government has jurisdiction, including certain crimes committed on Federal properties, against certain Federal officials and employees, and by members of the military. In addition, it covers certain crimes that are defined by statute as federal offenses wherever they occur, no matter who commits them, such as certain crimes of terrorism.
Because of principles of federalism embodied in the United States Constitution, Federal criminal law does not apply to crimes prosecuted by the individual states. However, 36 states also recognize the fetus or “unborn child” as a crime victim, at least for purposes of homicide or feticide.[2]
The legislation was both hailed and vilified by various legal observers who interpreted the measure as a step toward granting legal personhood to human fetuses, even though the bill explicitly contained a provision excepting abortion, stating that the bill would not “be construed to permit the prosecution” “of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf”, “of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child” or “of any woman with respect to her unborn child.”
However, the reticence of a federal law to authorize federal prosecution of a particular act committed under federal jurisdiction does not prevent states from passing their own laws against the act committed under their jurisdiction. Meanwhile the definition of all unborn babies as “members of the species homo sapiens” in section (d) says essentially what proposed “personhood” laws say.[3] Sponsors of such proposals say such legal language will trigger the “collapse” clause in Roe v. Wade, by establishing what Roe said must be established for legal abortion to end. [4] Several state supreme courts have ruled that sections (a) through (c) are not threatened by Roe, [5] but no court has addressed whether Roe can survive the triggering of its “collapse” clause by section (d).
The bill contained the alternate title of Laci and Conner’s Law after the California mother (Laci Peterson) and fetus (Conner Peterson) whose deaths were widely publicized during the later stages of the congressional debate on the bill in 2003 and 2004. (see Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson). Scott Peterson was convicted of double homicide under California’s fetal homicide law.

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States (1909–1913) and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930). He is the only person to have served in both of these offices.
Before becoming President, Taft, a Republican, was selected to serve on the Ohio Superior Court in 1887. In 1890, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Taft Secretary of War in an effort to groom Taft, then his close political ally, into his handpicked presidential successor. Taft assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court.
Riding a wave of popular support for fellow Republican Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency.[2] In his only term, Taft’s domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of nations in Latin America and Asia through “Dollar Diplomacy”, and showed masterful decisiveness and restraint in response to revolution in Mexico. The task-oriented Taft was oblivious to the political ramifications of his decisions, often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912. In surveys of presidential scholars, Taft is usually ranked near the middle of lists of all American Presidents.
After leaving office, Taft spent his time in academia, arbitration, and the search for world peace through his self-founded League to Enforce Peace. In 1921, after the First World War, President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft Chief Justice of the United States. Taft served in this capacity until shortly before his death in 1930.

Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats

Brown Penny
by William Butler Yeats

I whispered, ‘I am too young,’
And then, ‘I am old enough’;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
‘Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.’
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

 

November 18: From the Movies

November 18

From the Movies

 

883.

Magna carta. Master charga.

~Priest, speaking to Johnny (Michael Keaton), Johnny Dangerously (1984)

 

884.

Mother always said you were greedy.–Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy)

She meant it as a compliment.–Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche)

~Trading Places (1983)

 

885.

Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million-dollar equipment, back here I can‘t even hold a job parking cars.

~John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), First Blood (1982)

 

From 1001 Quotations: Money Matters by Day Williams

 

Star Parker: To survive, Republicans must address nationwide crisis in character

 

THE NANNY STATE

GOP: TALK MORE ABOUT VALUES, NOT LESS

Star Parker: To survive, Republicans must address nationwide ‘crisis in character’

Here’s an excerpt from a letter I received the other day from a college professor:

“… throughout this election I discussed with students the differences between ideologies. The majority of them are on federal financial aid. They are fine with more taxes as long as they will be taken care of. It is disturbing to hear that they are willing to spend their own money on tattoos and cell phones but cannot buy the book for class until the financial aid comes in.”

For those who see social conservatism as an annoyance and argue that Republicans must purge this agenda from their party in order to survive, I say “think again.”

If Republicans want revival, we need honest focus on what’s really wrong in America and what must be done to assure that a great nation will be standing for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

This kind of thinking is different from polls and focus groups and clever schemes to manage media and voter turnout.

Leadership is about identifying the truth, believing it and telling it in a way people can grasp. Then they will respond and follow.

The professor’s letter provides a snapshot, a hint, of what America’s most basic problem is today. It’s a problem of character and values.

Having lectured on over 180 college campuses over the last 20 years, I have seen exactly what the professor is talking about.

Of course government is too big. But how did it get this way? Americans vote every two years. They voted every two years during the whole period over which government grew to its current unwieldy size.

With the majority of the country now on one kind of government program or another, does anybody really think we can change this without talking about the human attitudes and values that produced it?

Democrats have a much easier problem than Republicans. They are not trying to change America. The trends and attitudes that got the whole country on welfare, that produced the moral relativism that is destroying our families and character, is the platform of the Democratic Party.

Democrat politicians just have one job. Deny the patient is sick.

Republicans, if they are going to be a real opposition party, have a much tougher job.

With all the talk about this last election being driven by demographics and turnout, the most basic point is the party and its candidate did not step up as a serious, principled opposition party.

We can’t save Medicare and Social Security. They are bankrupt. Did we hear this from the Republican candidate? We heard wishy-washy words about reforming these systems so we can save them.

Did we hear anything about how our public schools – controlled by unions whose agenda is growing their benefits and promoting moral relativism among our youth – are destroying our children and our future? No.

When Ronald Reagan was first elected in November 1980, 18 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today 42 percent are. Anyone who thinks this is not of crisis of the first order can just as easily vote for a Democrat as a Republican.

Americans just re-elected a president who opposed the Supreme Court decision banning partial-birth abortion. The leader of our nation thinks it should be legal in America to kill a live, fully formed infant. What does this say about America today and our future?

There may be Republicans who think that we can ignore the crisis in character and values that underlies our fiscal crisis. There may be Republicans that think if we have a better tax system it doesn’t matter if we have a country of single mothers, sexually ambiguous and confused men, and abortion and euthanasia on demand.

But ignoring these things would mean not just the end of the Republican Party. But the end of our country.