Canada Abortion Advocates Back Alternative to Bill Protecting Pregnant Women

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 6, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Abortion Advocates Back Alternative to Bill Protecting Pregnant Women

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 6
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( — Abortion advocates in Canada are supporting a new bill introduced as an alternative to a measure that protects and gives justice to pregnant women and their unborn children when they’re victims of violent attacks. The new bill ignores the death of or injury to the unborn child.

Conservative MP Ken Epp introduced the original bill, C-484, to hold criminals accountable for killing or injuring both mother and child in an attack.

The measure is similar to a national law in the United States and laws in 36 states nationwide, like the one in California used to prosecute Scott Peterson for killing his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn child Conner, who was eight months old at the time of his death.

Abortion advocates have opposed the Epp bill by falsely claiming that it would be used to trump legal abortions because it recognizes the baby as a victim, even though the measure expressly excludes abortions.

Now, Joyce Arthur, the head of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and one of the top pro-abortion activists attacking the bill to protect pregnant women, is urging support for an alternative.

In an editorial released on Monday, she said she prefers the new bill C-543 by Liberal MP Brent St Denis.

The measure simply increases the penalty on attacking a pregnant woman but does nothing to hold criminals accountable for the death or injury to her baby.

The bill only requires courts to consider pregnancy as an aggravating factor when sentencing those convicted of violence against women — meaning an unborn child could be killed in the attack and the criminal may escape prosecution.

"Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada suggested such a law last November in our Talking Points against C-484," Arthur said. "MPs who are truly concerned with women’s safety can support Bill C-543; those who want to give personhood to the fetus will support Bill C-484."

Arthur continued the false claim that unborn victims laws like those in the United States and the one Epp is proposing would be used against women.

"There is also a valid concern by some women’s groups that a tougher penalty law be used disproportionately against women," she said.

However, that has never been the case in the United States.

Meanwhile, Mary Talbot, whose 19-year-old pregnant daughter Olivia and her baby were killed in November 2005, wants the law Epp is sponsoring.

She told the Sun newspaper she backs legal abortions and understands the bill has nothing to do with limiting abortions, but is a recognition that two people are killed or injured in attacks on pregnant women.

"I’m pro-choice. I’ve always been pro-choice. One has nothing to do with the other," she said.

"The guy who murdered my daughter, he admitted that he shot her in the torso to kill the baby. To me, there needs to be some kind of legislation that addresses that," she said.

The measure also enjoys strong support from Canadians across the country.

A June poll from Vancouver-based Angus Reid Strategies found 68 percent of Canadians support such a bill.

The new survey finds 68 percent support the Unborn Victims of Crime Act and just 13 percent against it. Another 18 percent of those polled aren’t sure their position on the legislation.

Those results are consistent with the firm’s previous poll, in March, showing 44 percent of Canadians strongly support the bill while 26 percent moderately support it. Just 19 percent of Canadians opposed the bill in the prior poll.


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