The Unborn Victims of Violence Act provides that an individual who injures or kills an unborn child during the commission of certain federal crimes - 68 are referenced in the bill - will be guilty of a separate offense. Unborn children are recognized as crime victims too. Those opposed to the bill object to any reference to the unborn child as a separate existing being. State laws of this kind have withstood challenges in the courts. This measure was first introduced in the 106th Congress, regularly passing the House but being stalled in the Senate.

However, in 2004, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act passed both House and Senate, and on April 1 was signed into law by President George W. Bush.