Canada Family Continues Push for Unborn Victims Law After Mom’s Death

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Family Continues Push for Unborn Victims Law After Mom’s Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19,

Ottawa, Canada ( — A family in Canada is continuing to push for an unborn victims law there that provides both protection and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children. The family of a 25-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant when she and her unborn child were murdered wants to see others protected.

Aysun Sesen died on October 2 after she was stabbed in the stomach and her baby was delivered stillborn.

Now, Aydin Cocelli, her brother-in-law, is asking for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to press his case for "babies who died before they even opened their eyes."

"The law is wrong," he told CanWest News Service. "My sister-in-law got killed, but her baby got killed too, and that should count."

However, unlike in the United States, Canada law does not recognize the unborn child as a second victim in criminal attacks. A baby is not considered a human being worthy of legal protection until after birth.

CanWest said a spokesman for Harper indicated a meeting will not likely be arranged but Cocelli says he has a meeting set up next month with his Liberal MP Alan Tonks.

Pro-life advocacy groups have also been pressing for an unborn victims law.

The case of Alan Bryan is prompting more members of the Canadian parliament to take a new look at the idea.

Bryan, 43, has been accused of attacking his pregnant girlfriend Charlene Knapp with a sword. Knapp, who was three months into her pregnancy, was found by authorities in August with multiple stab wounds.

Knapp’s baby died as a result of the attack, and she underwent four operations while in hospital in Halifax after the incident.

Bryan was apprehended and appeared in court on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a sword. He was found fit to stand trial last month after a 30-day psychiatric assessment

However, he has not been charged in any way in connection with the death of Knapp’s child.

Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that’s a travesty.

"You’re killing one life, but you’re not killing the other because it is not considered a human being," he said. "To me, this highlights the essence of recognizing life. Either we respect life or we don’t, and I believe we should be recognizing the life of the unborn child."

Rushfeldt said the issue should go to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary, but he hopes the Canadian Parliament will approve a bill recognizing both victims.

Alberta Conservative MP Leon Benoit was denied a vote on his 2006 bill to have Canada’s law recognize both victims.

In June 2006, a parliamentary committee ruled the private member’s bill "non-votable" in a closed-door committee hearing. Benoit said the committee’s position on C-291 was out of step with what other people say about the legality of the bill.

"They believe it clearly contravenes the constitution, which is just out of line with what everybody else says," he said at the time.

The measure became embroiled in the abortion debate after pro-abortion groups complained about protecting both mother and child from assaults.

Ontario Liberal MP Paul Steckle says several MPs may look at a bill that avoids the abortion debate, but their measure may only have the nation recognizing one victim by merely enhancing the sentence of the crime against the mother.