Monday, February 11, 2008

One Body. One Person. One Count.

Conservative MP Ken Epp has a private member's bill before the Canadian House of Commons entitled "The Unborn Victims of Violence Act".

Epp has stated that this proposed legislation is intended to give Canadian judges the power to try those who perpetrate violence against pregnant women for a second count of violence against a fetus.

This is, at best, fuzzy law. The Supreme Court of Canada has already resolved (Section 223(1) of the Criminal Code) that a fetus is not a person until it has exited the birth canal alive. Dobson v. Dobson, heard by the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that a woman and fetus are physically "one" person and all rights accrue to the woman.

This bill has, in reality, one purpose. It is an attempt by the likes of Epp to sneak around Canada's established abortion laws by finding a way to declare a fetus a "person". Make no mistake, Epp's constituency is the Christian dominionist lobby and if this bill doesn't end up where it belongs, trampled on the floor of the House, women will immediately loose rights established under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Epp's bill will do absolutely nothing to stem the violence against women, pregnant or not. It will however fly in the face of existing law by creating a separation of a pregnant woman from a fetus. In the US this same kind of legislation has been used to take action pregnant women themselves if the state determined that a pregnant woman did not act in a manner the legal system deemed appropriate.

As an aside, Epp is resigning from politics and has no intention of running in the next federal election. This proposed legislation is actually a land mine he intends to leave behind.

This legislation has no other purpose than to execute a sneak attack on the rights of women.

Stop it now.

This legislation is scheduled for debate in the House on February 29th and for a vote sometime around March 5th. The Bloc and the NDP are going to whip the vote of their parties against it. The Liberals are leaving it a free vote to their members. That needs to change. Write Liberal leader Stephane Dion and demand a whipped vote.

Crush this bill. On February 25th, write about it.

More... much more, at Birth Pangs.

Video by Pale.

UPDATE: Get out and sign the online petition. Make your voice heard. (Thanks to Fern Hill in comments)

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