May 09 2003

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s visit to the state and speech at the University of South Carolina. On flying down with President Bush: “I know the president enjoyed his trip to South Carolina. He was in a great mood on the flight down. “The president visited with Senator Hollings, Congressman Clyburn and me for about 45 minutes on the plane. It was cordial, intriguing and I think the three of us really appreciated it. It was one of the highlights of my time in the Senate. The president was proud of our troops and rightly so, they’ve done a great job in Iraq.” On President Bush’s speech: “It was a visionary approach to the Middle East problem. “The president’s emphasis on empowering women in the Middle East is a key ingredient that’s been missing for years. Letting women fully participate in government as well as have a say in the economy and education will make it much harder to co-opt their children and turn them toward terrorism. “The president’s plan for an independent Palestinian state co-existing with a secure Israel is essential to bringing peace to the region. I was impressed with how comprehensive the president was in calling on the Palestinians to police terror and the Israelis to provide a better life to the Palestinian people. I wish him well and am proud of the President for taking on this challenge. I’m hopeful we can bring peace to the Middle East in a way that will be lasting.”

May 08 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced several South Carolina airports will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • The Greenville Downtown Airport will receive $805,171 to fund the second phase of installing an approach lighting system and to rehabilitate the taxiway.
  • The Donaldson Center in Greenville will receive $143,980 to rehabilitate the taxiway.
  • The Pickens County Airport will receive $154,827 to rehabilitate a runway and a taxiway.
  • The Summerville Airport will receive $490,000 to update the Airport Master Plan Study, rehabilitate the apron, and install perimeter fencing to enhance wildlife deterrence and airport security. “Airport infrastructure improvements directly benefit South Carolina’s economy,” said Graham. “State of the art facilities at our airports encourage business investment and promote economic growth.”

May 07 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today called on the U.S. Senate to pass S. 146, The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA).

Under current federal law, an individual who commits a federal crime of violence against a pregnant woman receives no additional punishment for killing or injuring the woman’s unborn child. Under the UVVA, if an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of an already-defined federal crime of violence, the assailant could be charged with a separate offense on behalf of the unborn child.

The UVVA would apply this principle to over 60 existing federal laws dealing with acts of violence. These federal laws affect federal geographical jurisdictions, the military justice system, protection of federal officials, and specific acts defined by law as federal crimes.

“I think, regardless of pro-life or pro-choice feelings, that most Americans want to protect the unborn from violence against criminals,” said Graham. “When a woman chooses to have her child, a criminal should not take that away from her.”

As an example, Graham noted a situation where a pregnant woman visiting Capitol Hill is assaulted and loses her unborn child. Since the Capitol is under Federal jurisdiction and there is currently no law on the federal books, the assailant could only be held accountable for the crime against the mother. The assailant would face no charge or receive no punishment for the harm done to the unborn child.

“I believe most Americans want to protect life as much as possible," said Graham. “People who want to turn this into an abortion debate have an irrational view. The purpose of this bill is very simple: Once the woman chooses to have the child and someone takes that child away from her through an assault or an act of violence, we want to put them in jail for the damage done to the unborn child.”

The UVVA specifically exempts abortions from the list of prosecutable offenses. The bill does not permit prosecution: (1) for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman has been obtained or for which consent is implied by law in a medical emergency; (2) for conduct relating to any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or (3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

The legislation, twice introduced by Graham while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and twice passed by that body in a bipartisan manner, has never been debated or voted on in the U.S. Senate.

“There is a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives committed to closing this scandalous gap in federal law,” said Graham. “Twice this has passed the House with more than 250 votes in support this measure. I think it shows the bill isn’t about abortion but holding criminals accountable for their actions and protecting pregnant women to the fullest extent of the law.”

Graham noted all six members, 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats, of the South Carolina delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the UVVA in 2001.

President Bush has also said he will sign the measure into law when it passes Congress. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said last month, “The president does believe that when an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of a crime of violence, the law should recognize what most people immediately recognize, and that is that such a crime has two victims. … But if you recall, the House of Representatives passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and it passed overwhelmingly with large bipartisan support. We hope that the Congress again this year -- the president calls on the House and calls on the Senate to again pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act so that the law can recognize what every mother, father, know in their heart when a unborn child is taken through an act of violence in the commission of a crime, just as we've seen in this case here.”

Unborn Victims of Violence Act: Some Cases of Homicides of Unborn Children under Federal or Military Jurisdiction

  • Deanna Mitts and her 3-year old daughter Kayla were killed by a pipe bomb and the assailant was sentenced to life in prison. Mitts was seven months pregnant when she died and prosecutors said her assailant, Joseph Minerd, killed her because she would not have an abortion. DNA tests later showed the unborn child was Minerd’s. No charges were brought for the crime against the unborn child.
  • Sgt. Timothy Ward, a soldier serving at the Helemano Military Reservation in Honolulu, was convicted in January 2000 of premeditated murder in the death of his wife, Bianca Ward, who was in the latter stages of pregnancy at the time of her death. Her unborn child did not survive. The cause of death was severe head trauma although there were also several puncture wounds. He has been dishonorably discharged and has been sentenced to 35 years of confinement. No charges were brought to the harm done to their unborn child.
  • Ruth Croston was five months pregnant on April 21, 1998, when she was killed by her estranged husband, Reginald Anthony Falice, at a Charlotte, N.C. intersection as she sat in her car. She and her unborn daughter died after being shot at least five times by Falice, who had been living in Atlanta. He was prosecuted in federal court for interstate domestic violence and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. No charges were brought for the killing of the unborn baby girl.
  • On September 12, 1996, at Wright-Patterson AFB, Airman Gregory Robbins assaulted his wife, Karlene, who was eight months pregnant with their daughter, Jasmine. He covered his fist with a t-shirt and repeatedly struck her in the face and abdomen. Due to the assault, Karlene's uterus ruptured and expelled Jasmine into the abdominal cavity and she died. The Air Force prosecutor assimilated charges from an Ohio statute which makes it a crime to kill an unborn child and he pled guilty to assault and battery upon his pregnant wife and involuntary manslaughter for the death of Jasmine.
  • On April 19, 1995, Carrie Lenz, a Drug Enforcement Agency secretary, was showing coworkers ultrasound pictures of her unborn child at six months when the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by a bomb. Just the day before the horrific bombing, she and her husband learned by the ultrasound that they were having a boy and named him Michael James Lenz III.
  • Monica Smith was a secretary who was pregnant when she was killed in the World Trade Center bombing in New York on February 26, 1993. Her unborn child was not among the six listed victims of the explosion.

May 06 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week introduced legislation to benefit members of the National Guard and Reserves. Senator Graham’s National Guard and Reserves Reform Act for the 21st Century is a comprehensive reform bill to modernize benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves. It addresses healthcare, retirement, and pay disparity between active duty and civilian income. “This reform package provides better health coverage, a fair retirement system, and the opportunity for improved compensation,” said Graham. “It will ensure that Guard and Reserve personnel and their families are justly compensated for their service.” “The increased demands placed on the men and women who serve this country in a part-time capacity require a modernization of their benefits,” said Graham. “We must be sure to take care of every person that puts their life on the line to fight for liberty and freedom throughout the world.” The health insurance reform provisions allow Guard and Reserve members the option of enrolling fulltime in TRICARE, the family health insurance coverage offered to active-duty military personnel. The change would offer health care stability to families who lose coverage under employers’ plans when a family member is called to active duty. It also provides relief to self-employed personnel who often pay large sums for health care coverage or have none at all. Members of the Guard and Reserve will have a co-payment because of their part-time status. Currently, Guard and Reservists are only eligible for TRICARE coverage when they are called to active duty. This legislation also adjusts the retirement structure of the Guard and Reserves to more accurately reflect the needs of the troops. For every two years a member serves after twenty years of honorable service, that individual’s eligible retirement age will be reduced by one year. Under current law, the retirement age is 60. Under the Graham plan, if an individual serves for 22 years, they are eligible for retirement at 59. An individual entering military service at 18 and serving for 36 years could retire at 52. The reform package also provides tax breaks for employers that make up the difference in civilian pay and reserve pay while members are on active duty. Employers can receive up to $25,000 per person in tax breaks for relieving this disparity. “The National Guard and Reserves have been called upon more often to help protect this country and defend American interests,” said Graham. “They are playing a vital role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and are an integral part of the war on terrorism.”

May 05 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Voorhees College in Denmark has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to organize a retraining skills partnership program for displaced workers at Savannah River Site (SRS). Voorhees will partner with SRS and Denmark Technical College in the effort. “Programs like these help workers get back on their feet and find new employment opportunities,” said Graham. “I’m glad Voorhees is partnering with the Department of Energy and SRS in helping these workers.” Voorhees College is a private, four-year educational institution with more than 700 students.

May 01 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s address to the nation. “Tonight was an opportunity to reflect upon the great job done by our men and women in uniform. It was also a time to rededicate ourselves to the job that lies ahead. I’m proud of the president and his leadership. I’m also tremendously grateful to the men and women in uniform who protected my freedom and of those of other Americans. “The war in Iraq is part of the overall war on terrorism. There is still much more to be done, more sacrifices to be made, and more money to be spent. Unfortunately, we may lose additional lives before we attain complete victory. “I applaud the President and the men and women in uniform who stood up to the oppression that existed in Iraq and disarmed a dictator. Tonight, we have much to be thankful for.”

May 01 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s address to the nation. “Tonight was an opportunity to reflect upon the great job done by our men and women in uniform. It was also a time to rededicate ourselves to the job that lies ahead. I’m proud of the president and his leadership. I’m also tremendously grateful to the men and women in uniform who protected my freedom and of those of other Americans. “The war in Iraq is part of the overall war on terrorism. There is still much more to be done, more sacrifices to be made, and more money to be spent. Unfortunately, we may lose additional lives before we attain complete victory. “I applaud the President and the men and women in uniform who stood up to the oppression that existed in Iraq and disarmed a dictator. Tonight, we have much to be thankful for.”

Apr 24 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced today the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in North Charleston has awarded a $5.1 million contract for the construction of a military police and emergency facility at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. The multi-story, 26,178 square foot facility will house the base police, fire department, and emergency services functions. “This investment will ensure the men and women at Parris Island have some of the finest facilities and resources at their disposal to carry out the mission of the base,” said Graham. Construction is to be completed by September 2004.

Apr 24 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced today the Silver Springs Rural Water District has been awarded a $662,000 grant and a $220,700 loan from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The funds will be used to replace an existing well that has become contaminated. Additionally, the project will provide a new elevated storage tank and an emergency connection to the Town of Salley. This is the second project awarded to the Silver Springs Rural Water District in the past week. On Tuesday, Graham announced nearly $1 million in federal money to construct new water lines and provide emergency connections to surrounding towns. “The area has great potential for additional economic growth,” said Graham. “The infrastructure investments made by USDA will go a long way toward helping it happen.”

Apr 23 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced today the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Charleston has awarded a $5,373,087 contract to Computer Sciences Corp. for engineering support on improvement projects. The contract calls for Computer Sciences to assist SSC in enhancing their engineering, technical, and business processes. “Military facilities in South Carolina are the tip of the spear for our nation’s armed forces,” Graham said. “The men and women stationed in our state fulfill the vital missions of the world’s finest fighting force. We supply the front line troops, and state-of-the-art weapons and support systems needed to win the war on terrorism.” All work will be conducted in Charleston, and is expected to be completed by April 2004. The contract also contains options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $28 million.