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politics, pregnancy and crime

February 12, 2008

This Friday, Parliament is scheduled to debate the Unborn Victims of Crime Act. This private members bill will then go to a vote on March 5.

According to its summary, Bill C-484 “amends the Criminal Code by making it an offence to injure, cause the death of or attempt to cause the death of a child before or during its birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother.”

Conservative MP Ken Epp says his bill “is about giving a woman the freedom of choice to bring her child to term in safety.”

According to Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, “Such a law would be an unconstitutional infringement on women’s rights, and wouuld likely result in harms against pregnant women. It is a key step towards re-criminalizing abortion, but it could also criminalze pregnant women for behaviours perceived to harm their fetuses.”

Both the Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party have said they will whip the vote against the bill – making sure all their members vote together.

So far, the Conservatives and Liberals have not said their votes will be party-wide. It looks like these Members of Parliament will be able to vote as they wish. Pro-choice activists are worried this means the bill has some chance of passing. Pro-life activists are hoping this is so.

This is a perfect opportunity to let your MP know how you feel. Below you’ll find some background information about why this bill is being discussed, and how you can contact politicians about it. The blog Birth Pangs has even created a handy form that makes it easy to contact Stéphane Dion, asking him to whip the Liberal vote. It has also organized a blog campaign called “One body. One person. One count.”

background and actions

manjitpanghali.org, a website with a petition in support of this bill, was unavailable when this entry was written.

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