Political Rants by Judy @ 4:08 PM
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Friday, Scott Peterson was convicted. Due to unusual circumstances, I happened to be in my car when the verdict was read in court. All of the news stories and broadcasts I’ve seen or heard say pretty much the same thing: Scott Peterson was convicted of killing his wife, Laci Peterson, and her unborn baby.

If I hadn’t been listening to the radio when the verdict was read, I would have missed it. Here’s a link to the audio: Court bailiff, reading guilty verict in killing of unborn son.

For those of you who don’t have Real Player installed, here’s the transcript of the sound bite:

[woman’s voice speaking] We, the jury in the above entitled cause, find the defendent, Scott Lee Peterson, guilty of the crime of murder of baby Conner Peterson.

Do you see the key words there: “baby Conner Peterson.”

Scott Peterson was prosecuted under California’s fetal homicide law. This was a precursor to the Federal Unborn Victims Of Violence Act (UVVA), renamed “Laci and Conner’s law” or (as referred to in Bush ads during the election) “The Laci Peterson Law that protects women against violence.” UVVA defines an unborn child as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”

Nation Right To Life claims that the law does not cover reproductive health rights and was meant to protect women. The law actually does nothing to prevent violence against women. It totally ignores the fact that any assault that harms a pregnancy is inherently a harmful attack on a woman.

What the law does do is to define a human life as starting at conception and provide separate legal rights for a fetus. Both erode a woman’s rights to reproductive choice and the latter is in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade, which held that a fetus is not a person under the 14th Amendement to the Constitution.

A different act, the Motherhood Protection Act of 2003, that would have supplied the same punishment for violent conduct agains a woman causing in an interruption of the normal course of a pregnancy resulting in harm to the pregnancy (including termination) as UVVA, but that did not give separate rights to the fetus, didn’t make it through committee.

Lest anyone think I’m exaggerating NRL’s intent, the day that the Scott Peterson verdict was handed down, KOIN News interviewed a representative from the Oregon Christian Coalition who said, basically, “Thank God we have a verdict and now we can overturn Roe v. Wade.” (Unfortunately I did not catch the name of the person being interviewed, and I cannot find mention of this on KOIN’s web site.) And, lest anyone still think I”m exaggerating, here’s an article by Jay Sekulow, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing group founded by Pat Robertson that claims to be “dedicated to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms” but that is actually dedicated to “defending and advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the two-parent, marriage-bound family.” Any doubt as to the ACLJ’s actual mission can be clarified by reading any of their position statements.

Quoth Sekulow regarding the Peterson verdict:

How does recognition of the value of the Peterson child’s life affect the pro-life movement? Well, it certainly gives us the momentum, if you will, to argue that this is a life worthy of protecting under the Constitution, when the murder of an unborn child is recognized as a separate and distinct crime under constitutional law.

We stand on a very slippery slope on which a woman’s rights to basic reproductive health care are at grave risk of being curtailed or eliminated. There is no medication other than contraception that is so rarely covered by health insurance. There is no medical procedure other than abortion that requires the patient to be subjected to waiting periods and the provider to be required to dispense unscientific information.

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