Bruinooge believes Roxanne's Law still has some life in it

  • December 17, 2010
Conservative MP Rod BruinoogeOTTAWA - Roxanne’s Law may have gone down to defeat, but Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge sees signs a version of his anti-abortion coercion bill might succeed some day.

“I was not too disappointed,” said Bruinooge, who chairs the Parliamentary Pro-life Caucus, after the 178-97 defeat Dec. 15 of Bill C-510.

Roxanne’s Law would make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. It was named for a constituent in Bruinooge's Winnipeg riding who was beaten with a hockey stick by three men and left to die in a snow bank because she refused to have an abortion. Bruinooge said he “learned a lot about Canada” in telling her story, which also attracted international interest.

He had predicted on a national radio program prior to the vote that 75 MPs would support the bill, so he was gratified to see an additional 22 MPs voting in favour of his bill. He said he believes another 40 could be persuaded to support similar legislation to protect women from being coerced to have abortions.

“It was nice to see good representation in cabinet that supported the bill as well as the majority of the Conservative women Members of Parliament,” Bruinooge said. “That’s a real positive indication that Roxanne’s Law was hitting the mark and was a good piece of legislation.

“It’s been an honour for me to bring in this bill and tell Roxanne’s story to the nation, and around the world.”

“I’m hopeful we can build on this for the future,” he said.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes said he too had underestimated support for Roxanne’s Law, pegging it in the high 80s.

Hughes pointed out that Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted against the bill.  Pro-abortion activists and even some pro-life supporters contend that Harper is a secret pro-lifer who would change the law if he had a majority, Hughes said, pointing out Harper’s actions tell a different story.

“The powers that be are not interested in having this issue debated at all, they don’t even what the topic discussed,” he said. “The issue is on the frontburner again as result of Bruinooge bringing it forward.”

The Catholic Civil Rights League expressed its disappointment that Bill C-510 was defeated. The League pointed out the bill would have posed no threat to abortion providers or put any legal limit on abortion.

“The League recognizes the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death, and we believe that Bill C-510 could have reduced the likelihood of forced abortion, which is one aspect of the many issues of respect for life and respect for women that are raised by abortion,” said League executive director Joanne McGarry in a statement. “It is unfortunate that any mention of abortion law is usually stopped by the strong opinions the topic ignites on both sides, and by politicians’ reluctance to address the issue.”

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