AUGUSTA — In an initial vote, Maine senators voted 18 to 15 today against a measure that would create new crimes, such as murder and assault, against “unborn children.”

The bill, LD 1463, sponsored by state Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, would not apply to abortions performed with the consent of the mother or to doctors during “usual and customary” standards of medical practice.

“This law is law in the United States of America and in 36 others states,” Plowman said. “It protects unborn children from bodily injury or death by providing criminal penalties for acts committed against the unborn child.”

Supporters say the proposal would create stiffer penalties for particularly heinous crimes. But opponents say the legislation is an anti-abortion measure that has been abused by prosecutors in other states.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, said the bill “drives a wedge” between a woman and her fetus.

“We have a law and the law is sufficient,” she said during debate.

Six Republicans joined most Democrats in opposing the legislation; one Democrat supported it.