by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2008
Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — The Canadian government is expected to vote on an unborn victims bill in March that would offer protection and justice for women and their unborn children who are victims of violence. The bill holds criminals accountable for killing or injuring both mother and child in an assault against both.
Conservative MP Ken Epp is behind C-484 and he says the legislation addresses a "huge gap" in the law that allows criminals to escape charges in connection with killing or injuring a baby in an attack on her mother.
"This is a case when the woman has decided to have that child, and that choice has to be protected in law," Epp told the Winnipeg Sun in a Friday interview.
"I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m pro-life," he explained. "But this bill goes very narrowly at one issue — where the woman has made the choice to have the child, and that choice is taken away unilaterally, without her consent and usually with violence."
Unlike in the United States, Canadian 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.
The bill is a response to impassioned pleas by grieving families who can’t believe that criminals who attack pregnant women receive no punishment for killing or injuring the baby as well.
However, abortion advocates in Canada object to protecting pregnant women and offering them justice when their unborn child is killed or injured.
They’ve said the bill would punish women who have abortions, even though abortion is specifically exempted in the bill and though no women have ever been prosecuted for abortions under similar bills in the United States.
Their argument has led some MPs to oppose the measure.
Bloc Quebecois MP Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest, told the Sun newspaper that he thinks the bill "opens the door" to prosecuting women.
"I am against abortion, but I do not believe that is how we will deal with the problem of abortion," he said.
But Denise Burke, an attorney who is the vice president of Americans United for Life, says “There are no cases that prosecuted mothers under fetal homicide statutes.”
Those who say the bill would do so, "show a lack of knowledge about American law, at best, and an intent to mislead and further her political agenda at the expense of women and their children, at worst," Burke contends.
This is the second try to get an unborn victims law in place.
Alberta Conservative MP Leon Benoit was denied a vote on his 2006 bill to have Canada’s law recognize both victims.