To inflict physical harm upon a woman is a crime against her and should be.
To inflict physical harm upon a woman such that you cause her to have a miscarriage, causing potentially devastating further suffering to her and denying her the chance to carry the fetus to term, represents that much greater a crime against her, and should be recognized as such.
To inflict physical harm upon a woman such that you cause her to have a miscarriage is not, however, a crime against the fetus, because the fetus is not a legally-protected person under American law. As I argued before, granting legal protections to a fetus inside of a woman’s body cannot but deny full legal protections to the woman in whose body the fetus is gestating. If the crimminal who assaults a pregnant woman is charged with abridging the rights to bodily integrity of a woman and an unborn child, then the rights to bodily integrity of the child mean that the rights to bodily autonomy substantively have no weight.
Everyone who supports the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” passed today by the Senate and last week by the House knows what this is about, and to argue otherwise is an insult to voters’ intelligence:
“It’s not about abortion,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and an advocate for the bill in his previous years in the House. “It is about criminals who attack pregnant women.”
Very telling is the Republican response to an ammendment to protect the rights of women who suffer domestic violence:
Senators also rejected another Democratic amendment, one that would have required companies to provide unpaid leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence, a policy that Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, said was a better way to reduce crimes against women.
“Despite the rhetoric, they are not truly willing to do something about domestic violence,” Ms. Murray said.
This isn’t about protecting women from violence – this is about consigning women to be wombs who don’t have rights gestating people who do.