WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House passed legislation Thursday subjecting assailants who injure or kill a pregnant woman and her fetus to two separate criminal penalties. The bill would for the first time under federal law give victim's rights to unborn children.

The bill, championed by conservative groups, drew opposition from others concerned that conferring new rights on the fetus would undermine abortion rights.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was approved 254-163 after the House rejected a Democratic-led alternative that would have increased penalties for those attacking a pregnant woman but continue to regard the offense as perpetrated on one victim.

``That little unborn child is intrinsically precious and valuable and deserving of standing in the law and protection,'' argued Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill.

The legislation now must be taken up by the Senate, where abortion rights forces are stronger and passage is uncertain.