Senator Tom Harkin says he has reservations about a bill being debated in the U.S. Senate which would make it a federal crime to harm an “unborn child.” Harkin, who is a democrat, says he agrees there should be enhanced penalties for crimes committed against pregnant women, but he supports an amendment advanced by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Her amendment does establish tougher penalties for an attack that damages or destroys a pregnancy, but does not define life as beginning at conception and does not give the fetus legal rights as a person — as the bill does. Harkin says he’s “concerned about passing legislation that would accord separate legal standing to a fetus.” Harkin says he’s “concerned this is another step in trying to undo Roe v. Wade and to make it a criminal activity for a woman under any circumstance to get an abortion in this country.” The bill has been named “Laci and Connor’s Law” after Laci Peterson, the California woman who was pregnant when she was murdered more than a year ago. Senator Charles Grassley, a republican, is expected to be among those who vote for the bill.
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