Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has an op-ed up at the National Post’s website that ably refutes right-wing spin on just who (or what) will be “protected” by Bill C-484 the proposed fetal homicide bill.
Our justice system already allows for harsher penalties for aggravated crimes. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada supports such remedies, and we’ve also called for better measures to reduce violence against pregnant women, who are at increased risk of domestic violence. Further, we’ve advocated the use of Canada’s hate crime legislation (which has a gender clause) and even suggested passing a specific law to mandate increased penalties for attackers of pregnant women.
Giving separate legal status to a fetus is an unnecessary approach that could endanger not only abortion rights, but the rights of all pregnant women. Fetal homicide laws are prevalent in the U.S., but have done nothing to reduce violence against pregnant women. Instead, they have been used to arrest and prosecute pregnant women for their behaviour, and to justify restrictions on abortion — even when such laws exclude abortion and pregnant women from criminal liability. Our fear that this bill will be used in a similar way in Canada is not unjustified.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
Related: Fern can hear a dogwhistle–can you?