President Bush signed The Unborn Victims of Violence Act into law on April 1, 2004. NJRTL was invited to the bill signing ceremony at the White House. This bill recognizes that when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman, and injures or kills both her and her unborn child, in the commission of a federal crime, he has claimed two human victims. The bill would establish that if a “child in utero” is injured or killed during the commission of certain federal crimes of violence, then the assailant may be charged with a second offense on behalf of the second victim, the unborn child. The exact charge would depend on which federal law is involved, the degree of harm done to the child, and other factors.
The law applies this two-victim principle to 68 existing federal laws dealing with acts of violence. These laws cover a considerable number of activities defined as federal crimes wherever they occur, including interstate stalking, kidnapping, bombings, and offenses related to major drug trafficking, and attacks on federal employees. In addition, these laws cover federal geographical jurisdictions, such as federal lands and tribal lands, and the military justice system. The law does not apply in states like NJ which do not currently have a fetal homicide law in effect.