Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The abortion lobby doesn't get it when it comes to the fetal homicide bill

It looks like the Abortion Rights Action Coalition whipped out its talking points on the fetal homicide bill.

Let's answer them point by point.

Fetal personhood conflicts with the Criminal Code

The bill does not confer personhood. Section 223 of the Criminal Code still applies.
It is a lie to say that the bill grants personhood to fetuses.

We need to address domestic violence against pregnant women

Sure. But I am not a victim of domestic violence. If someone kills my unborn child, I want the culprit accountable for his act. This can happen outside of a domestic violence situation.

The bill takes the focus away from the real issue—domestic violence against pregnant women.

No, the issue is the sexist idea that a woman is deprived of something that belongs to her, and the law does not acknowledge that injustice. Men can just kill a woman's fetus, and the law says nothing about the injustice done to the woman and her family.

The bill does not protect women, only fetuses

It would surely make a man think twice about imposing a co-erced pregnancy termination on a woman.

This bill completely fails them

An assault bill fails people who are victims of theft. A single bill is not going to address every social and legal issue under the sun.

The law has no rational or evidential basis. This is a "feel-good" bill designed to satisfy emotional needs, and the wish for punishment and vengeance.

The ARCC will not recognize what most women recgonize: that being deprived of one's fetus, one's right to give birth, is an injustice. They only care about legally protecting one choice: the choice of abortion.

The law has no rational or evidential basis. This is a "feel-good" bill designed to satisfy emotional needs, and the wish for punishment and vengeance.

Even if this is true, they have rendered justice to the women and families who've been deprived of fetuses.

The bill’s real intent is to give fetuses personhood and criminalize abortion: The narrowness of the bill indicates that the real intent is not to protect women, but to give fetuses legal personhood, for no apparent reason other than to try and use it as a wedge to re-criminalize abortion. The bill was introduced and promoted by anti-abortion groups and individuals (e.g., Campaign Life Coalition, Conservative anti-abortion MP's, Margaret Somerville, and others).

Margaret Somerville supports legal abortion in the first trimester. The fact that she opposes third trimester abortions does not make her "anti-abortion", it puts her in the mainstream of Canadian society. Most of the families of the pregnant women killed support legal abortion.

The issue is the fact that women and their families are deprived of something that is valuable, and the legal system does not recognize this as a crime. The people who oppose this bill are people whose intent is to not attribute ANY value to the fetus whatsoever and preserve legal abortion right up to birth. They do not care about the values of mainstream Canada. They do not care about the suffering and loss caused by the deprivation of a unborn child.

The bill conflicts with women's guaranteed rights and equality under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman and her fetus are considered "physically one” person under the law (Dobson vs. Dobson,, and that rights accrue to the pregnant woman. It would be extremely difficult to give fetuses any legal recognition without compromising women’s established rights in some way.

But the law allows for the legal fiction of the woman and the fetus being considered separate if it allows for greater justice, as in the case of fetuses inheriting an estate, or suing the mother for injuries done to it while in the womb.

Legally separating a woman from her fetus causes harm:

It's already being done. Abortion is still legal.

The bill creates an inherent contradiction and confusion in the law, by pitting fetal rights against women's rights, and creating a conflict with abortion rights. If a fetus is a legal entity with the right not to be killed, how then can abortion be exempt, and why should a pregnant woman's potentially harmful behaviours be exempt? The law opens the door to pregnant women being targeted for their behaviours or for self-abortions, as has happened in some U.S. states.

The law excludes that the woman be prosecuted for any action or omission on her part.

Pregnant women have been arrested under U.S. fetal homicide laws:

They won't be under Canadian law, because the bill specifically excludes that.

The bill’s exemptions for pregnant women may not work: Epp’s bill specifically exempts pregnant women from prosecution, as well as abortion. However, in the U.S., arrests of pregnant women have occurred even under state fetal homicide laws that make exemptions for the pregnant woman. For example, pregnant women have been arrested for murder in Utah and California under "fetal homicide” laws. Courts have so far struck down these types of prosecutions, but arrests continue based on a growing body of law declaring that fetuses have rights separate from those of pregnant women.

That shows the law works. A woman will not be convicted. Plus that is the American context. This is Canada.

People who help women self-abort could be prosecuted. If women try to self-abort and persuade someone to help them, the helper can be prosecuted under a fetal homicide law and suffer grave injustice. In 2005, Texas teenager Gerardo Flores ( was found guilty on two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison for helping his girlfriend end her five-month pregnancy of twins. At the time, anti-abortion legislators lamented that Texas’ law would not allow prosecution of his girlfriend, too. The desperate couple had decided to self-induce an abortion because they couldn’t get one legally – Texas had recently banned abortions after 16 weeks. This shows how fetal homicide laws can seriously impact abortion rights.

In order for the fetal homicide law to be applicable here, there must be a crime committed. Trying to end a pregnancy in Canada is not a crime.

They're trying to apply the American context to the Canadian context. It's a completely different context.

Polls do not reflect justice or informed opinion

Translation: the polls don't reflect what we want.

I find it interesting that the abortion lobby says "trust women" when it comes to abortion, but when it comes to fetal homicide laws, suddenly women are uninformed and untrustworthy. So which is it? Are women trustworthy about what they want, or not?

Victim’s families should not determine legal remedies

They have viscerally suffered the loss of an unborn child. I think they know best the real impact of the injustice done to them.

Why is it that when women who suffered illegal abortions should know what the law should be, but women who suffered the loss of an unborn child shouldn't know?

It seems there is a double standard at work.

We can impose harsher penalties for attacks on pregnant women

But it would not cover every possible eventuality.

It all boils down to: do you acknowledge that losing an unborn child is an injustice in and of itself, or not?

The abortion people do not. Because they have a vested ideological and financial interest in doing so.

The rest of society has no such interest.

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