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:
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.