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White House: Harming Fetus Should be Federal Crime

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The White House has urged Congress to pass a law making it a federal crime to harm a fetus during an assault on its mother. The subject has been in the news lately because of the Laci Peterson murder case. Peterson was 8 months pregnant when she disappeared. Her body and the body of her unborn son were found this month.

The House passed legislation in 2001 supported by President Bush that would make it a crime to injure or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. But the Senate never took up the measure. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer declined to comment specifically on the Peterson case. But when asked whether it is appropriate for the husband to be charged with two murders, Fleischer said the president believes that “such a crime has two victims.”