by Steven Ertelt
October 24, 2007
Winnipeg, Canada (LifeNews.com) — A Canadian teenager has been given six years in prison for killing his pregnant girlfriend after she refused his request to have an abortion. The teenager was not charged in the death of the woman’s unborn child because Canada does not have a law similar to the U.S. that holds criminals accountable for their deaths.
In February 2007, the teenager killed 24-year-old Roxanne Fernando after she refused to have an abortion. He buried her in a snowbank in a remote area a few days later.
The unnamed 17-year-old received the strongest penalty under law for juveniles.
He could have been tried in adult court, but pleaded guilty to the girl’s death in exchange for prosecutors not taking the case there. Had he been tried as an adult, he would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The six years in jail will be followed by a four year probation sentence, according to a CBC report.
"The circumstances of this crime are extremely aggravating," said Judge Marvin Garfinkel. "[The killer’s] conduct is completely inexplicable."
According to the CBC, Fernando’s family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2003 and said they had hoped for a "new and good life, and not the end of it."
Ana Maria Deluz, Fernando’s sister, told the news service, "I have this feeling of regret because I brought her to Canada."
Pro-life advocates and family members of other pregnant women who have been victims of violence at calling on the Canadian parliament to approve an unborn victims law to hold criminals better accountable for the deaths of both mother and child.
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.