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Endangering Women's Rights

Friday, April 22, 2005; Page A16

After reading the April 12 front-page summary of legislative action in Annapolis, I feel obligated to report on one additional piece of legislation, "Murder and Manslaughter-Viable Fetus," which passed the House and Senate.

The passage of this bill was a blow to the reproductive rights of women in Maryland. While it is intended to invoke sympathy for pregnant women who have suffered violent injury, it is a smokescreen for the advance of an anti-reproductive-rights agenda.

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The bill's supporters are determined to have a fetus recognized in law as an autonomous person. That legal definition ultimately could enable the government to prosecute women who choose to have an abortion, even to save their own lives. In 30 states in which similar legislation has passed, the incidence of violence against pregnant women has not decreased, but the successful prosecution of vulnerable women has.

The passage of this legislation underscores why a strong and unwavering reproductive-rights coalition is needed to preserve women's most fundamental right.

DUCHY TRACHTENBERG

President

Maryland NOW

Silver Spring


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