Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Joyce Arthur: the answer is a fetal homicide law

Joyce Arthur wrote this editorial against fetal homicide laws.

Like just about all pro-abortion activists she is against them.

Because they are all against giving the fetus ANY legal recognition.

That is totally out of touch with Canadian mainstream society.

Although a majority of Canadians favour legal abortion in the first trimester, most Canadians also favour some legal protection for the unborn child.

Because unlike pro-abortion activist Joyce Arthur, they think fetuses matter.

They think fetuses are human-- at least at a given time in the pregnancy.

And even if they don't, there is an implicit belief that a woman has a right to her fetus, and that a fetus is more than a blob of tissue, it is practically a member of the family, especially at the latter stages of pregnancy.

But does Joyce Arthur care about that? No. All she cares about is abortion. Not about the unborn, not about people's relationship with the unborn members of their families.

However, creating a "fetal homicide" law that would allow murder charges to be laid for the death of a fetus would be an unconstitutional infringement on women's rights, and would likely result in harms against pregnant women.

Yeah, it's so unconstitutional that a House of Commons legal committee wrote up a law for MP Leon Benoit to create a fetal homicide law.

What Joyce Arthur says is not true.

The Canadian Parliament has a legal right to protect fetal life, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. That was stated by the Supreme Court.

When pregnant women are assaulted or killed, it's a domestic violence issue and it's well known that violence against women increases during pregnancy.

This is true. But it's not just a domestic violence issue. A woman can lose a fetus by a variety of means. She is not even necessarily murdered. She can lose a fetus in an automobile accident, a violent encounter with a criminal, an accidental shooting, etc. The scenarios are endless.

And losing a fetus in each of these scenarios is a tragedy to both the woman and the families.

A "fetal homicide" law would completely sidestep the issue of domestic abuse and do nothing to protect pregnant women.

It would highlight domestic abuse, because fetuses are as much victims of domestic abuse as women.

Canadian women have guaranteed rights and equality, while fetuses do not.

Even so, non-humans can be legally protected, if not recognized as persons.

The Supreme Court has ruled (in Dobson vs. Dobson, 1999) that a womanandher fetusareconsidered "physically one" person under the law.

Except the Supreme Court has also ruled that the state can protect fetal life. Our Legal system also allows for "legal fictions" of the fetus having rights for various purposes, i.e. settling estates. So it's not without precedent.

Separating a woman from her fetus under the law creates a harmful, adversarial relationship between a woman and her fetus.

But not acknowledging the fetus deprives the woman and her family of justice. If nothing else, a woman has a right to her fetus. If someone deprives her of him, they should be accountable, not just for the assault on her, but for the loss she suffered.

Other than the victims' families, those calling for a "fetal homicide" law are almost exclusively anti-abortion advocates.

Yeah, except for those pesky victims' families, who, by the way, are not opposed to legalized abortion, and who know the pain and suffering of losing a family member. They experience the injustice of losing that unborn member of the family.

Most Canadians probably aren't aware of the hidden agenda against abortion behind the promotion of "fetal homicide" laws.

Or most Canadians agree with giving unborn children some legal recognition. Perhaps they put themselves in the shoes of the victims' families and feel that they would want the death of the fetus to be a crime in itself.

Under state "fetal homicide" laws pregnant women are more likely to be punished for behaviours and conditions that are not criminalized for other people, such as drug or alcohol abuse.

And why shouldn't a woman be accountable for causing her unborn child suffering? Imagine if you were the fetus and you were born with a handicap because of deliberate narcotic consumption? Even if you do not account the fetus as a person, the future suffering is enough to justify that kind of measure.

In practice, these contradictory laws create a dangerous slippery slope towards criminalizing pregnant women for their behaviours while pregnant.

So in the name of the hypothetical, we shouldn't address a real injustice?

Is the loss of a fetus an injustice? Yes? Then it should be addressed by our legal system.

In Canada, the judicial system routinely takes aggravating circumstances into account. In the case of an assault or murder of a pregnant woman,

It's not an "aggravating factor". It is, in and of itself, an injustice. What if the crime is assault, but a nine-month old fetus is killed? "Assault" doesn't quite describe the crime in question.

Such a solution would avoid the controversy about giving rights to fetuses

No, because the controversy is: why isn't depriving a woman and her family of a family member a crime?

. In the end, the best way to protect fetuses is to guarantee full rights for pregnant women, including their right to be safe from domestic violence.

The white supremacists used to say that the best way to protect black people is to keep them in slavery. When you deny the humanity of the victim, you deny true justice.

Joyce Arthur is completely out of touch with the sentiments of Canadians. People do love their unborn children, and if they were deprived of them, the legal system would not adequately address the nature of the crime.

It's all about abortion for Joyce Arthur. Not about people's real pain.