Groups join to fight Bill C-484

  • May 29, 2008

{mosimage}OTTAWA - More than 50 organizations, labour unions and groups have lined up against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act that passed second reading in the House of Commons March 5.

“I am actually rather surprised that is such a phalanx of people ready to do battle against it,” said Conservative MP Ken Epp, who drafted the private member’s bill C-484.

The groups include not only abortion rights and feminist organizations but an array of labour unions and associations such as the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the B.C. Teacher’s Federation, the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada and the Federation of Medical Women. Other groups that have signed a statement opposing Bill C-484 include YWCA Canada, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and the Law Union of Ontario.

“What is really at stake here is the legal recognition of the fetus’ right to life and the possible re-criminalization of abortion,” the statement reads. “The adoption of Bill C-484 would introduce a major change in our law, since it would in effect recognize that a fetus has a ‘right to life.’ ”

Epp had expected some opposition and charges of a hidden agenda to recriminalize abortion. He deliberately instructed the bill’s drafters to “inoculate the bill to any of these false charges.” Abortion is deliberately excluded. The bill makes it an additional offence to harm an unborn child while committing a violent crime against the mother who has chosen to carry the baby to term.

“The truth doesn’t really matter,” Epp said. “They are not concerned about whom they might be sacrificing.”

Epp said the opponents seem quite willing to sacrifice the choice of women who want to keep their pregnancies just “to keep their argument alive.”

“These people purport to represent women and represent women’s groups,” he said. “But they are not representing women who want to have a child.”

Bill C-484 was supposed to go to the House of Commons justice committee, but Epp has no idea when that might happen because the committee has become dysfunctional through partisan bickering and no business has been taking place. The bill will automatically return to the House within 60 sitting days.

In May, Liberal MP Brent St. Denis introduced an “alternative proposal” to Epp’s bill. St. Denis’ private member’s bill C-543 would explicitly include pregnancy as an aggravating factor when sentences are handed out.

Epp said Bill C-543 is not necessary. It also stands no chance of being debated in this Parliament, as private members’ business is based on a lottery system. Epp called St. Denis’ bill a “decoy.”

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family has urged Catholics to inform their representatives that they support the bill. The Catholic Civil Rights League also supports the bill.

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