I think this bill failed to generate any genuine excitement. No doubt, the usual suspects-- pro-life and pro-abortion groups-- spoke up to make their views known. But Bill C-510 didn't generate polls, didn't generate a lot of commentary, didn't whip up a lot of controversy.
It was too safe a bill.
It was about co-erced abortion. And practically no one favours co-erced abortion-- at least publicly. But people just didn't see the need for the bill. They don't think they would be involved in such a situation. Or perhaps they were a guilty party.
Pro-lifers tried to operate on our opponent's premises-- that of protecting women. I'm all for protecting women, but when you try to debate using your opponent's premises, you are setting yourself up for doom.
If we want to make the most of our legislative efforts, I think the pro-life caucus should present a bill that goes right to the heart of the fetal rights is.
I think there should be a private member's bill to ban dilatation and evacuation, also known as D & E.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with abortion methods, a D & E consists of ripping off the baby's limbs and then crushing his skull. It's typically performed in the second trimester after the ossification of bones, which makes a suction curettage abortion impossible.
In conjuction with a ban on D & E, I also think we should ban the practice of feticide. Feticide is that act of killing the fetus before expulsion. Usually it's performed with an injection to the baby's heart, either of potassium chloride or digoxin. However, in the medical literature, drugs administered orally can also be used.
If we banned those two things, what would happen is that chemical abortions in the 2nd trimester would become more common. It's being studied now in the medical literature and I expect that they will become more common. Basically, the abortionist would induce labour in order to expulse the fetus.
If the fetus is not killed before being delivered, there is a small but non-negligeable chance that he could survive birth. The next step would be to vote in an Infant Born Alive act.
It would be something of a long shot as far as pro-life bills are concerned. However, it would generate a lot of interest. Picture abortionists being summoned to a Parliamentary Committee to describe how they rip off the arms of little babies and crush their heads; picture them describing sticking a needle full of potassium chloride in the baby's heart. Picture a pro-life group showing a video of a live 2nd trimester abortion to Committee, and it's broadcast on CPAC.
Picture all the media coverage of that.
Now I can see the medical objections to this. In an emergency, a D & E is faster than an induction.
But most D & E's are elective, not medical-related.
We should stop trying to present timid bills, and try something a little more bold. If we don't have the votes to begin with (which is something we should make sure before we present a bill we are seriously trying to pass) then we should try to make hay by presenting bills that go to the heart of the issue.