CMA Opposes Bill C-484

by matttbastard

The Canadian Medical Association voted Wednesday (“by a wide margin”, according to the Edmonton Sun) to come out against C-484, The Unborn Victims of Crime Act:

Dr. Robert Ouellet, who assumed the CMA presidency yesterday, said the physician group opposes the bill.

“It’s not about abortion, being for or against abortion,” Ouellet said. “It’s being against making doctors criminals.”

Ouellet said the CMA has a legal paper suggesting the bill, if passed, could make a doctor who performs an abortion vulnerable to charges.

h/t Fern Hill

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Bill C-484: Dion’s Official Reply

by matttbastard

Well well well, look what finally turned up in my inbox (as well as Sean’s and Fern’s):

Dear Sir/Madame,

We would like to thank you for your recent [sic] letter regarding the Private Member’s Bill C-484 presented by Conservative member Ken Epp.

Members of Parliament have the right to put forward a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons. However, our concern with Mr. Epp’s bill, a concern shared by many lawyers, health professionals and women’s rights organizations, is that it would undermine a woman’s right to choose and could ultimately be a threat to a woman’s ability to access safe abortion services. We are committed to the Liberal Party of Canada, under Stéphane Dion’s leadership, standing firm against the idea of reopening the debate surrounding a woman’s right to choose. Passage of this bill will reopen the debate and threaten the rights of women – we will not allow that to happen.

Mr. Epp’s bill has been sent to the Justice committee and would only become law after receiving a majority vote in favour on its third reading in the House of Commons. Mr. Dion intends to work to ensure the bill is defeated at that time.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on this important issue.


The Office of Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

A little bit late, but, hey, it’s been a busy six (yes, six) months for Stéph, what with all the backing down (and loving it) he’s done since then.

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Benedict Ambrose

by matttbastard

900Ft Jesus on Rona Ambrose publicly selling out lending her support to Bill C-484:

It is appalling to have anyone try to undermine women’s rights, but worse yet when it comes from a woman who benefitted from the dedication and sacrifice of those who fought for those rights then after she has hers, turns around and tries to gut them. In Harper’s ideal world, Ambrose would not be an MP. She would be at home, breeding until she ran out of viable ovaries, getting dinner ready for her hard working man, prettying herself up for him, and making sure she has a smile for him when he got home. No matter how she may have felt that day, wondering if that is all there is.

Ouch–that’s gonna leave a mark.

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Well it’s about goddamn time (C-484 edition)

by matttbastard

crime scene!

The Canadian Press:

Stephane Dion vowed Thursday that Liberals will block passage of a Tory bill that some fear might re-open the dormant abortion debate.

“I want to give my word to all the women of Canada that the Liberal Party of Canada is against to reopen woman’s right to decide as a debate,” the Liberal leader pledged.


Dion indicated that he shares the view that the bill would reopen the abortion debate and vowed: “We will not allow that to happen.”

More from JJ and fern.  H/t Impolitical.

Related: Via fern, Susan Delacourt reports that Rona Ambrose is apparently trying to atone for past sins against the party by using her uterine authority to sanctify unholy pro-C-484 talking points.

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PSA: Protest Against Bill C-484 (Updated Details)

by matttbastard

crime scene!

Via sick_city @ Bread and Roses:

Ottawa, ON – May 3rd, 2008 – On May 3rd, 2008 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM a protest opposing Bill C-484 will take place at the Human Rights Monument. Bill C-484, “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act,” has passed its second reading in Parliament as of March 5th, 2008. The bill creates a separate offence for killing a foetus when a pregnant woman is murdered. It gives an unborn foetus some human rights in these cases, which is a cause for concern in the pro-choice community. Under current Canadian Law, human foetuses are not considered persons(s) until they are born alive. If Bill C-484 should pass, the laws would be in conflict because the foetus would be considered a person and therefore the right to a legal abortion would come into question, as well as the rights of pregnant women in general. The law is clearly not concerned with the roots of violence against women and thus this bill would be a detriment to women’s rights. Similar laws have been passed in the U.S. resulting in dozens of women being punished for trying to “harm their child”. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

We believe that the Government should look to pass laws that increase the sentencing upon those who commit violent acts against women, instead of passing laws just for foetuses that give women no ounce of protection and infringe on their rights.

Women and men are encouraged to come join us and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada at the Human Rights Monument on May 3rd, 2008 to show their solidarity. *We are encouraging supporters across Canada to hold similar protests as a sign of nationwide solidarity against Bill C-484.*

*Contact :*

Ottawa, Ontario – le 3 mai, 2008 de 12 h à 15 h protestation à l’opposition du projet de loi C-484 aura lieu à le monument canadien pour les droits de la personne. Affichez C-484, « Loi modifiant le Code criminel (blesser ou causer la mort d’un enfant non encore né au cours de la perpétration d’une infraction) » a passé sa deuxième lecture au parlement en date du 5 mars, 2008. Le projet de loi crée une offense séparée pour tuer un foetus quand une femme enceinte est assassinée. Elle donne à un foetus à venir quelques droits de l’homme dans ces caisses, qui est un sujet d’inquiétude dans la communauté de pro-choix. En vertu de la loi canadienne courante, des foetus humains ne sont pas considérés comme personnes) jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient vivants soutenus. Si le projet de loi C-484 passe, les lois seraient en conflit parce que le foetus serait considéré une personne et donc le droit à un avortement légal hériterait la question, aussi bien que les droits des femmes enceintes en général.

La loi n’est pas véritablement concernée par les racines de la violence contre des femmes et ce projet de loi serait ainsi un détriment vers les droits des femmes. Des lois semblables ont été passées aux États-Unis ayant pour résultat des douzaines de femmes étant punies pour qu’essayer « nuise à
leur enfant ». Ne laissons pas ceci se produire au Canada. Nous croyons que le gouvernement devrait regarder pour passer les lois qui augmentent la condamnation sur ceux qui commettent des actes violents contre des femmes, au lieu de passer des lois juste pour les foetus qui ne donnent à des femmes aucune protection.

Des femmes et les hommes sont encouragés à venir joignent nous et la Coalition de droites d’avortement du Canada à le monument canadien pour les droits de la personne le 3 mai, 2008
pour montrer leur solidarité. *Nous encourageons des défenseurs à travers le Canada à tenir des protestations semblables comme signe de la solidarité dans tout le pays contre le projet de loi C-484.*

*Contact :*

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FMSQ Considers Bill C-484 May Eliminate Decades of Social Consensus and Jurisprudence

by matttbastard

FMSQ press release:

Montreal, April 15, 2008 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (the FMSQ) has vigorously denounced Bill C-484, the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act”. This Private Member’s Bill, piloted by Ken Epp, an Alberta MP, was tabled on November 21, 2007 and passed the House of Commons second reading on March 5, 2008, virtually unnoticed. If the Bill passes final reading, it could have serious repercussions on the practice of medicine.

The FMSQ fully concurs that a violent crime against anyone, let alone a pregnant woman, is heinous and unacceptable. But, on the pretext of wanting to toughen sentences handed down in cases of physical attacks on pregnant women, this Bill could implicitly confer legal status on a fetus, which has none under the current legislation.

It will be remembered that on January 28, 1988 after more than twenty years of divisions, incessant and costly legal proceedings and 15 months of deliberations, the Supreme Court of Canada finally settled the matter by striking down section 251 of the Criminal Code and ruling that a woman and her fetus are considered to be a single physical person. Consequently, the woman’s legal status is the only one that applies. The FMSQ considers that Bill C-484 introduces a new legal concept that could, once again, create a conflict between the rights of the fetus and those of the pregnant woman.

In the Federation’s opinion, over and above the virtues claimed for Bill C-484, a persistent attempt can be seen on the Conservative side to relaunch a debate that ended 20 years ago and to reopen the door to the criminalization of abortion. As far back as 1989, a Bill passed by the Commons but defeated by the Senate attempted to restrict abortion to instances where it was required for health reasons and to impose a maximum term of two years’ imprisonment on physicians who contravened the law.

Endorsing this Bill would be equivalent to reopening an unwanted debate with an unpredictable outcome, yet with all the attendant consequences for medical practice
. The Federation considers that if it is desired to toughen the sentences of persons committing such crimes, this can be done by making the appropriate changes to the existing legislation. It is also perfectly possible for legislators to strengthen the impact of sentences through stricter enforcement.

Since its election, the Conservative government has tabled not one but two Bills (Bills C-291 and C-484) with the intent of amending the Criminal Code so that charges can be laid in all cases resulting in the violent death of an unborn child. At the second reading, some 147 MPs voted in favour of Bill C-484, 118 of them Conservatives. A majority of Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party members voted their party lines against passage of the Bill.

We were astounded to learn that the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada did not find it advisable to take an official stand on this matter and allowed party members a free vote. Some LPC members therefore voted in favour of the Bill, while others, including the Leader, Stéphane Dion, were not present on this important occasion”.

Dr. Barrette, the FMSQ President, has invited the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons to take a clear stand on this matter. “Mr. Dion is a strong supporter of clarity: now is the time to prove it! We urge him to make his position clear and call upon his caucus to vote unanimously against Bill C-484.”

In a letter to various members of the House of Commons, including the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the FMSQ strongly urged them to protect the gains already made and respect the social consensus by relegating Bill C-484, once and for all, to the oblivion it deserves.

The FMSQ considers that this Bill raises major political and social issues. “This tediously long process, in and of itself, calls for extreme caution. To disregard this sombre and troubled period clouding our legal, social and constitutional systems would indicate a total utter lack of concern”.

The FMSQ urges everyone who shares its point of view to make their Member of Parliament aware of that fact through the special Internet site available at:

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec numbers more than 8,000 members in Québec, representing 35 medical specialties. The sole organization recognized by government with respect to negotiating medical specialists’ collective agreements, the FMSQ is also consulted on all aspects of the organization of medical care in Québec.

Score one for the anti-fetus lobby.

h/t dbO, Joyce Arthur and Lagatta @ Bread and Roses

Update: more from fern hill and Impolitical, who gives the Liberals a well-deserved rhetorical kick in the ass for allowing C-484 (“a piece of Conservative ideological claptrap”) to pass second reading:

This issue plays poorly in progressive Quebec, not to mention with the women of Canada. C-484 needs to be defeated and the Liberals need to get on it.

Look, Stephane, we all know how much the Grits love backing down. But, as Impolitical noted, this is a motherfucking private member’s bill; it’s defeat will not bring down the government (eek!) So for once–just once–show some goddamn backbone, do your fucking job, and stand up to the Stephen Harper Party.

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Bill C-484 Challenge

by matttbastard

crime scene!

Fern Hill (seconded by JJ) throws down the gauntlet:

You supporters of Bill C-484, ‘An Act to Amend to Amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offense)’, insist that the bill has nothing to do with women’s rights (i.e. zip zero nada nuttin’ to do with abortion). You keep carping repeating that it is all about PROTECTING pregnant women.

OK. So. Here’s the challenge. Find one reputatable, established organization working against violence against women that publicly endorses this bill and we’ll shut up.

Thus far, the silence from the ‘pro’ side has been thunderously deafening. I for one am shocked, absolutely SHOCKED, I tell you!! Yep, am utterly flabbergasted that anti-VAW organizations haven’t fallen over each other trying to jump aboard Kenny-boy’s pro-lifewoman bandwagon.

Guess the poor ladies really do need a man (or an honourary man) to tell them what’s best for ’em.

Related: pogge detects the sickening stench of rotten Danish seafood:

There are lots of people who will swear on a stack of Bibles, as it were, that this bill has nothing to do with abortion. Funny thing though: all of those people are well-known for opposing abortion. All of the highly vocal supporters of this legislation who have previously stated public positions on abortion and choice — at least that I’m aware of — are all in the same group. And it ain’t the group that supports a woman’s reproductive freedom.

I don’t believe in coincidences like that.

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