National Catholic Register

Opinion

Executing Pregnant Women

BY Jim Cosgrove

Feb. 11-17, 2001 Issue | Posted 2/11/01 at 1:00 PM

 

During the recently ended campaign, the Register referred several times to Al Gore Jr.'s view that it should be legal to execute pregnant women on death row. We continue to get letters and phone calls challenging us on this point and demanding our source, and so we reluctantly return to the campaign that many would as soon forget.

Here is the source: On the July 19 edition of NBC's “Meet the Press,” Tim Russert challenged Gore again and again to say when life began and to spell out any limits he saw to Roe v. Wade. Again and again, Gore said a woman's right to choose trumped all considerations about unborn life, until Russert asked him about a 1994 federal law prohibiting executions of pregnant women.

Gore refused to say whether or not executing pregnant women on death row should be legal. Laughing, he said, “I'd want to think about that.”

The next day, challenged again on the question by reporters in Nashville, Tenn., he said that it should be legal: “The principle of a woman's right to choose governs in that case.”

On July 19, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (RFla.) introduced the “Innocent Child Protection Act” to protect the unborn from being executed with their mothers. A U.S. House vote, taken immediately, overwhelmingly reaffirmed the law.

“I have no respect whatsoever for Mr. Gore's position to permit the execution of children,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). “Mr. Gore's child death penalty is totally contrary to internationally recognized human rights principles.”

Others expressed outrage at the vice president's statement — but the House action was almost universally ignored in the media. The Register did publish a story about it in our July 30 issue.

— The Editors

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