Sunday, February 10, 2008

ALERT YOUR MP: Put an end to the backdoor shenanigans!


Our Big-Dumb-Parliament is poised to vote on an anti-choice private member's bill on March 5, 2008. The "Unborn Victims of Crime Act" (C-484) was first presented by Conservative MP Ken Epp (Edmonton Sherwood Park). Just where in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did this come from? (Vancouver Sun):
The sister of slain teacher Manjit Panghali is seeking support for proposed federal legislation that would make it an offence to harm or kill unborn babies during attacks on their mothers.
Jasmin Bhambra wants people to sign a petition to Edmonton MP Ken Epp, who is advocating for the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill, which she said is scheduled for debate on Feb. 29.
The petition,at www.manjitpanghali.org, calls for unborn babies who are injured or killed in attacks on their moms to be recognized as separate from their mothers and for two charges to be laid against an offender, rather than one.
The petition states that the death an unborn baby "violates the woman's right to protect and give life to her child."
At the moment, Canada has no such law in place.
Panghali was four months pregnant with her second child when she was murdered in October 2006 and her body set alight. She was found days later on Deltaport Way.
Now, I should hasten to add that pregnant women are murdered at greater rates than their un-pregnant sisters. Our government should be working towards increasing support and resources for women at risk. But this bill has nothing to do with that, and I can guarantee you that we won't hear a word about new funding or resources when the House resumes debate on C-484, later this month.

Nope. We're gonna hear about murdered babies. And innocence. And innocent babies. But don't fall for it for a second, dear reader, 'cause this bill will have nothing to do with protecting pregnant women from crime. And we've heard this song before. Check out the last sentence of the Feb 2 Vancouver Sun piece:
The proposed bill is similar to the American Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Ah yes. The "Unborn Victims of Violence Act." And just like Epp's bill, the re-introduction (and passage) of the American UVVA was timed to exploit citizen outrage over the high-profile murder of Laci Peterson, a pregnant woman.

Jeez Louise...is there any American tactic that our Cons won't ape? Here's what Ken Epp's and other so-called 'fetal homicide' bills are really about (via Joyce Arthur):
The narrowness of the bill indicates that the real intent is not to protect women, but to give fetuses legal personhood, for no apparent reason other than to try and use it as a wedge to re-criminalize abortion. The bill was introduced and promoted by anti-abortion groups and individuals (e.g., Campaign Life Coalition, Conservative anti-abortion MP's, Margaret Somerville, and others). Also, it uses anti-choice language, including "unborn child", "child" and "mother". The bill is modeled after similar bills promoted and passed in the U.S. by anti-abortion groups and legislators. In South Carolina, anti-abortion lawmakers explicitly stated they wanted to use the state’s fetal homicide law as a legal foundation to overturn Roe v. Wade (the decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.).
I know, I know...private member's bills don't usually go anywhere, so it's not worth worrying about. Except that it is. Or at least it might be. Here's some quick arithmetic via fern hill (post-2006 fed election numbers):
Action Canada Population and Development (ACPD) reported a new total of 90 anti-choice MPs from all parties, 16 Liberals and 74 Conservatives. [...] 65 MPs did not state their positions, (42 Conservatives, 23 Liberals).
Ok. There are a total of 308 seats in the HoC, and only 90 anti-choice MPs. But here's the problem: if you add the 65 undeclared MPs to the 90 anti-choicers, you get a potential maximum of 155 votes for Ken Epp's backdoor anti-choice bill. That's 50.3%.

Still not worried? Are you confident that enough of the 65 undeclared MPs will vote against C-484? I know I'd like to believe that. But I don't like to leave things to chance these days, so here's what I'm asking you to do:

Given that the Bloc and NDP will whip their respective caucuses to vote NO on C-484, we don't have to worry about them. Nope, the disquieting 'sect' is the Liberal caucus: Dion has not said that he will whip his group, so we have no assurances that those anti-choice or undeclared Liberals will vote against this Bill. So...we gotta get on his case. Birth Pangs has setup an Activist Page that allows you to send a quick email to the Loyal Leader of the Opposition. It's quick. It's easy. It's polite. If you are uncomfortable filling in web-forms, then you can contact Dion directly:

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 996-5789
Fax: (613) 996-6562
EMail: DionS@parl.gc.ca
Web Site:* www.stephanedion.parl.gc.ca
Preferred Language: French

Constituency Offices

750 Marcel-Laurin Blvd, Suite 440
Saint-Laurent , Québec
H4M 2M4
Telephone: (514) 335-6655
Fax: (514) 335-2712

Tell him we'll be watching. And we're ready: Birth Pangs has issued a Call Out for February 25, Sadie Hawkins Day, asking pro-choice bloggers to post about C-484. Here's BP's fern hill with our marching orders:
In response, we at Bread and Roses and Birth Pangs are launching a campaign we’re calling ‘One body. One person. One count.’
We’re calling on all progressive bloggers — and especially ones with Liberal connections — to blog against this bill on Monday, February 25. We hope that thousands of blog readers will be moved to contact their MPs to tell them what they think of this sneak attack on women’s rights.
Go and be motivated by pale’s powerful vid.
We hope that bloggers and their readers will inform themselves by visiting the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to read Joyce Arthur’s excellent article on the bill here and the talking points against it.
In the meantime, you can further this action by visiting and directing your readers to Birth Pangs’s Activist Page to send an automatic message to Stéphane Dion demanding that he whip his MPs into line on this.
Do it. Bookmark or 'del.ici.ous' Birth Pangs' page or pale's Youtube video. Facebook them, too, for good measure. And then tell your friends to do it. And so on. You know what to do.

February 25th: One body. One person. One count.

Note: if anyone has more recent-MP math regarding the population of anti-choicers and undeclared MPs, please feel free to comment and I'll update my post.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee. 'It's quick. It's easy. It's polite.' We at Birth Pangs don't do polite so well. But we tried.

Thanks, Kitty.

fern hill

2/10/2008 10:50 PM  
Blogger Beijing York said...

Oh this point is so important:

Now, I should hasten to add that pregnant women are murdered at greater rates than their un-pregnant sisters. Our government should be working towards increasing support and resources for women at risk. But this bill has nothing to do with that, and I can guarantee you that we won't hear a word about new funding or resources when the House resumes debate on C-484, later this month.

Thanks for this informative post Kitty.

2/11/2008 12:51 AM  
Blogger Godammitkitty said...

Thanks for stopping by, fh & BY!

I will issue another 'heads up' before the Feb 25 blogburst, and probably again before the March vote.

Fingers crossed, eh?

2/11/2008 3:27 AM  
Blogger A Voice of Sanity said...

Now, I should hasten to add that pregnant women are murdered at greater rates than their un-pregnant sisters.

The methodology used to get this 'result' was specious to say the least. Women who were murdered within one year of giving birth were also included to make up the figures. In fact slightly more pregnant women die in traffic accidents than as a result of homicide; and pregnancy and marriage actually both reduce the rate of homicide for women in this age group.

2/11/2008 8:16 PM  
Blogger daev said...

Excellent post, excellent advice for anyone concerned with this sneaky, backdoor attempt at shoving in that wedge. I'll be joining in the blogburst on the 25th, for sure.

To venture off-topic for a second, thank you so much for the nomination over at the F-Word awards!! It's quite an honour, and I'm always glad to see people enjoying what I write. Gord knows I enjoy reading you and everyone in our cozy little blogging community! Keeps me sane, it does.

2/14/2008 12:22 AM  
Blogger Godammitkitty said...

Hi Daev! You're most welcome for the nomination--your blog is a regular-stop in my "travels." :)

Cheers!
GDK

2/14/2008 5:20 AM  

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