Here's how Minnesota's representatives voted on the 252-172 roll call by which the House passed a bill that would make it a federal crime to harm a fetus.
A "yes" was for the provision and a "no" was against it.
Republicans -- Gutknecht, Y; Kennedy, Y; Ramstad, Y.
Democrats -- Luther, N; McCollum, N; Oberstar, Y; Peterson, Y; Sabo, N.
By JANELLE CARTER
WASHINGTON -- A House-passed bill that would make it a federal crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman now goes to the Senate, where a similar measure foundered last year.
The House passed the bill Thursday 252-172, almost identical to the 254-172 margin by which it was passed last year.
The vote followed an emotional debate that delved deeply into abortion rights. Supporters characterized the bill as an anti-crime measure and sought to minimize its ramifications on the abortion issue. Opponents called the legislation an attempt by conservatives to chip away at abortion rights guaranteed in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
"We should have truth in advertising," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said. "This bill is not about violence against pregnant women. It's about taking away a woman's right to choose. It erodes Roe v. Wade."
But Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a longtime opponent of abortion rights, said, "A victim is a victim, it seems to me, no matter how small."
Despite the highly charged rhetoric of the House, the Senate has been mostly quiet. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, has sponsored the companion measure, but so far no hearings have been scheduled.
Last year's bill never made it out of a Senate committee.
"The Senate is not going to take up," the bill, Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, warned lawmakers during the debate. "They didn't take it up in the last Congress. They won't take it up in this Congress."
Still, Republicans face a different political landscape this year with President Bush, an anti-abortion ally, in the White House.
Bush issued a statement after Thursday's vote saying, "This legislation affirms our commitment to a culture of life, which welcomes and protects children."
The president has already shown his steadfast support for the anti-abortion wing of his party, much to the dismay of abortion-rights advocates.
On the Net: Bill text: http://thomas.loc.gov
A listing of state fetal-crime laws: http://www.nrlc.org/Whatsnew/sthomicidelaws.htm
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