Friday, February 22, 2008

Answering the abortion lobby's talking points on the unborn victims of crime bill

The Abortion Rights Coaltiion of Canada has a series of talking points regarding the unborn victims of crime bill.

It makes it all the easier to refute them.

Here are some of the lies they are spreading.

1. Fetal personhood conflicts with the Criminal Code: The bill grants a type of legal personhood to fetuses. This conflicts with the existing Criminal Code provision that fetuses are not persons until they exit from the birth canal alive. (Section 223[1]). Further, the bill tries to amend Part VIII of the Criminal Code, “Offences Against the Person and Reputation”; however, the fetus is not a legal person and cannot rightly fall under this section.

"A type of" legal personhood to fetuses?

Either the fetus is a person or it's not.

There is no spectrum of personhood in Canadian law.

The bill does not in any way shape or form do away with Section 223 of the Criminal Code.

The Bill covers the loss of a fetus as a offense against the mother.

But they don't get that a fetus is an injustice to the mother.

2. We need to address domestic violence against pregnant women: The bill takes the focus away from the real issue—domestic violence against pregnant women. When media coverage focuses on the victim’s fetus, the pregnant woman is forgotten.

As if it's a zero-sum game. Women who are deprived of their fetuses want some focus on the fetus.

3. The bill does not protect women, only fetuses: The bill does not make it a crime to attack pregnant women, and applies narrowly only to the fetuses of pregnant women.

What the bill does is acknowledge that being deprived of a fetus is an injustice. An injustice to whom? An injustice to the mother. In that sense, it addresses the mother's concerns (and her estate and family).

Further, Mr. Epp’s stated intent of the bill is to protect only wanted fetuses. (He said: “This is all about protecting the choice of a woman to give birth to her child.” ( However, women who have recently given birth, or have had abortions or are planning to have abortions, are also at increased risk of domestic violence. This bill completely fails them.

Insofar as they would benefit, no it does not. The injustice under consideration is the loss of a fetus. Until a woman aborts, her fetus is hers to do what she wishes. She may change her mind.

The law has no rational or evidential basis.

Only if one treats justice as merely a utilitarian thing. Justice is about rights. When a woman is deprived of her fetus, she is deprived of a right.

The bill’s real intent is to give fetuses personhood and criminalize abortion

And the opposition's REAL intention is to protect abortion rights to the third trimester, at any cost, even if it means the injustice of the loss of a fetus is to go unaddressed in our criminal justice system.

Also, it uses anti-choice language, including "unborn child", "child" and "mother".

That is the language of our legal and medical system. See section 223. See any document regarding the fetus when it's wanted. He is an unborn child. That's the way the medical establishment speaks.

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

However, the Supreme Court has also said it's the state's prerogative to legislate on protecting the life of the fetus, or attributing it a status. It's precisely because there was an absence of legislation on this matter that the Supreme Court ruled this way-- it had no choice but to say that the fetus had no status. But it never excluded the possibility of establishing some kind of status.

Legally separating a woman from her fetus causes harm: Creating a legal separation of a pregnant woman and her fetus can result in a harmful, adversarial relationship between them. When their interests conflict, one or both can be endangered. For example, if pregnant women are threatened with arrest for abusing drugs, they are less likely to seek pre-natal care.

And not separating them, as in this case leads to denying the nature of the fetal-mother relationship-- which is that it exists. If the fetus and mother are "one", then logically they could not be separated.

But we know that's a legal fiction.

Not separating them on some level means that injustice against women who are deprived of their fetuses is perpetuated, in the name of a fanatical pro-abortion ideology.

8. 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 fetus has no rights under this law.

Pregnant women have been arrested under U.S. fetal homicide laws: In the United States, 37 states have enacted fetal protection laws or so-called “fetal homicide” laws, which make it a crime to cause harm to a fetus.

First of all, they were charged, not prosecuted.

If we abolished all laws that could lead to false arrest, we wouldn't have any.

C-484 requires that an offense be committed against the mother. It excludes all actions on the mother's part.

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.

The law is very clear: only when a third party commits an act against a woman does the law apply. These objections are irrelevant.

People who help women self-abort could be prosecuted.

Not true. The Bill states:

7) For greater certainty, this section does not apply in respect of

(a) conduct relating to the lawful termination of the pregnancy of the mother of the child to which the mother has consented;

If the mother consents to the abortion, the law does not apply.

Polls do not reflect justice or informed opinion: A recent poll in Canada (, commissioned by anti-abortion group LifeCanada, found that 72% of respondents support legislation that would make it a separate crime to injure or kill a fetus during an attack on a pregnant woman. However, most people don’t realize there’s a hidden agenda against abortion behind the promotion of these laws, or that it could end up hurting pregnant women.

How do they know this? Did they poll the people to ask them what they knew or didn't know?

It's pure speculation on their part.

Most people know that they value their fetuses and want those who deprive them of their fetuses or unborn relatives to be accountable to our legal system.

The fact that they said this so "naively"-- i.e. not necessarily in the context of the abortion debate shows that the core of support is there. That's what they really want-- they want justice for the loss of unborn children.

13. Victim’s families should not determine legal remedies: Some of the victims' families have called for a "fetal homicide" law. While we deeply sympathize with them and understand their wish, it must be recognized that victims of violence are not those who should be making decisions about justice in a democratic society. Appropriate laws and penalties must be determined by impartial parties who do not allow emotion or personal bias to colour their decisions. This is done to fairly protect everyone's democratic rights, such as the rights of the accused.

That is sheer hypocrisy from the pro-abortion movement. How did they attempt to convince people to legalize abortion: "WOMEN WILL DIE IF ABORTION IS NOT LEGALIZED-- THEY'LL KILL THEMSELVES WITH COAT HANGERS."

The families know what suffering the loss of a fetus is all about, and it is very patronizing on the part of the abortion lobby to say that they cannot recognize a true injustice when they've experienced it.

We can impose harsher penalties for attacks on pregnant women:

We could. But it would not address the real injustice: that of being deprived of one's fetus, and of being deprived of one's right to carry a baby to term.

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