In the last two weeks, the prospect of significant pro-life gains in state legislatures this year has seemed to throw those in the hard-left wing of the media into a tizzy. A number of stories have come out with blatant inaccuracies and overwrought hyperbole.
Their current target? AUL’s model bill entitled The Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act.
This groundbreaking model legislation seeks to ensure that a pregnant woman and her unborn child are protected from criminal violence and that her decision to carry her child to term is respected. Specifically, the model legislation was drafted in direct response to the well-documented and growing problem of pregnancy-related violence against women.
As detailed in the legislative findings section of the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act,” evidence has shown that violence and abuse are often higher during pregnancy than during any other period in a woman’s lifetime. For example, according to the March of Dimes, one in six pregnant women have been abused by a partner. A 1998 household survey determined that pregnant women are 60.6 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant.
In fact, a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause. And case after case has demonstrated that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often directed at the unborn child or intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy.
AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” expressly provides that a pregnant woman may use force to protect her unborn child when she reasonably believes that unlawful force is threatening her unborn child and that her use of force is immediately necessary to protect her unborn child. The language explicitly limits the permitted use of force to a pregnant woman and does not expand it to third parties. Thus, under the express terms of AUL’s carefully crafted and narrow language, the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” could not be used to justify criminal violence against abortion providers or anyone else.
Current articles from Mother Jones and the Huffington Post try to distort this support for pregnant women in an attempt to derail similar legislation in the states. This is a shame. Thousands of pregnant women are assaulted or killed each year and deserve the explicit right to defend their unborn children from harm. It is time they stopped confusing their pro-choice rhetoric with their anti-life ideology.