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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Wanker of the Day (Bill C-484 edition)

by matttbastard


Peter “Tony Blair, Jr.” Stoffer.

Please take a moment to ask the Right Hon. Shithead from Sackville–Eastern Shore why he decided to break ranks with the Dippers and vote in favour of Ken Epp’s stealth abortion ban (h/t pogge for the link). Remember, honey trumps vinegar, even if the sweetness is laced with righteous vitriol. In other words, try to avoid unnecessary ad homs like “the Right Hon. Shithead from Sackville–Eastern Shore” in your correspondence.

Contact info:

Parliament Hill:
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-995-5822

2900 Hwy #2
Fall River, N.S. B2T 1W4
Tel: 902-861-2311
Fax: 902-861-4620

Riding Association
58 Haddad Drive
Lower Sackville, NS B4C 4A5
Tel: (902) 471-7996
President: Mat Whynott

Oh, and don’t forget to ask Smilin’ Jack whatever happened to the NDP’s commitment to women’s rights and reproductive freedom, and whether Stoffer will face any consequences for breaking ranks.


There is only one party in Parliament which is steadfastly committed to women’s equality and that’s the New Democratic Party. The NDP believes that women’s equality is fundamental to this country and is committed to achieving it in every walk of life – from the makeup of the House of Commons, to pay equity, to childcare. Women make up 41% of the NDP caucus – the highest proportion of women Members of Parliament in Canadian history.

New Democrats have always stood side-by-side with women’s groups to support equality. Whether speaking out on issues like choice on abortion, breaking the silence on violence against women, electing the first female leader of a federal political party, pushing for proactive legislation on pay and employment equity or making sure that every piece of legislation is examined for its impact on women, the NDP is the party that has walked the talk when it comes to fighting for women’s equality.

So why aren’t all caucus members walking the talk, Mr Layton?

Contact info:

Parliament Hill:
634-C Centre Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: (613) 947-0867
Fax: (613) 947-0868

221 Broadview Avenue, Suite 100
Toronto, ON M4M 2G3
Tel: (416) 405-8914
Fax: (416) 405-8918

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Wanker(s) of the Day (One Body. One person. One count.)

by matttbastard


The Braintrust @ the Ottawa Citizen (h/t Fern Hill @ BnR).

Miss Vicky nails it in a diplomatic, sympathetic-yet-uncompromising fashion:

My heart breaks for families of murdered pregnant women – people like Mary Talbot, who wrote a piece in the Citizen today. They are dealing with a profound loss, and to them the loss is of two people, to be sure – their daughter or wife or sister, and the potential addition to the family that she was carrying. Believe me, I know the grief of the loss of potential, of a life-not-yet-lived, and all the dreams and hopes and aspirations and possibilities that accompany a pregnancy. But the thing about law-making, especially when it comes to justice issues, is that we have to strip away the emotion from issues in order to write legislation that makes sense for society as a whole. There is little to be gained from charging a criminal with a separate count of murder or assault for the loss of a fetus, except perhaps the satisfaction of a need for vengeance for those who are left behind. And while I can imagine the desire for vengeance is overwhelming in these situations, that isn’t what our justice system is about. And it certainly doesn’t bring back the loved one and the potential loved one in question.

Grief, while powerful and painful and often all-consuming, should not be driving legislation.

Mary Talbot may (may) honestly believe that Bill C-484 has nothing to do with abortion, but that claim is specious. As CC observed, the Unborn Victims of Crime bill doesn’t make any legal sense–unless one is trying to further enshrine the words “unborn” and “child” in Canadian law, putting a woman’s right to choose–and, if the effect that similar laws in the US have had are any indication, her bodily integrity and physical liberty–in jeopardy.

900 ft Jesus:

The problems in this Bill are two-fold: they seek to give status to the foetus as a separate entity with rights equal to human beings, and it seeks to re-define the foetus as a child. The wording of the Bill is geared to both. Let’s look at the problems with this Bill.

BILL C-484 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence) 1. This Act may be cited as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act.

The word “child” would re-define a foetus and a zygote as a human being. Similarly, “unborn victims” would give them a status independent from the woman. If the Bill was truly concerned only with protecting the woman from an involuntary miscarriage while being the victim of a crime, wording of this Bill could easily be changed to reflect an additional crime against the woman, that of causing an unwanted miscarriage. Wording here is clearly to establish the rights of a foestus and zygote as independent from a pregnant woman. That Bill continues to use such wording throughout, leaving no doubt that such a Bill will indeed view the foetus as a separate human being, and a child, at that.

3. The Act is amended by adding the following after section 238: Causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence 238.1

(1) Every person who, directly or indirectly, causes the death of a child during birth or at any stage of development before birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother of the child, who the person knows or ought to know is pregnant,

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 10 years if the person

(i) means to cause the child’s death, or (ii) means to cause injury to the child or mother that the person knows is likely to cause the child’s death, and is reckless as to whether death ensues or not;

Just in case you still have doubts that the intent of this Bill is to declare a foetus/zygote a human being and give it rights as such:

Exclusion of defence

(5) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the child is not a human being.

And in case you still don’t get it:

Separate offence

(6) An offence referred to in this section committed against a child is not included in any offence committed against the mother of the child.


It will be difficult to argue later that a “child” is a child in the case of crimes committed against a woman, but is not a child any other time. If the foetus is given independent rights in this case, it will be hard to argue it has none any other time.


[Bill C-484] is an unnecessary Bill since the extra charge of causing an unwanted abortion already exists in our laws. It is a dangerous Bill because it re-defines a foetus/zygote as a child and gives it independent rights. This will absolutely lay the groundwork for arguing to re-open the abortion issue.

Look, “what about my unborn granddaughter” is not an argument; it’s a deliberately manipulative fallacy that is being used (whether deliberately or otherwise) as part of a coordinated effort to incrementally chip away at reproductive liberty in Canada.

Once again: “Grief, while powerful and painful and often all-consuming, should not be driving legislation.”

The Ottawa Citizen has essentially given Mary Talbot an unchallenged forum to wack Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada over the head with grief just because Talbot has suffered a terrible loss. So, a challenge to the Citizen (and/or the folks in Winnipeg): allow Joyce the opportunity to respond to Talbot’s all-too-personal attack; let facts collide head on with emotion.

The women of Canada–and Joyce Arthur–deserve nothing less.

One person. One body. One count.

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PSA: OPPOSE Bill C-484 – REJETEZ Bill C-484

by matttbastard


From the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada:

The “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” (Bill C-484) is coming up for a vote in Parliament on March 5.

The bill poses a real danger to abortion rights, to the rights of all pregnant women, and to women’s equality rights in general.

Please sign the following petition to call upon Parliament to oppose this bill. To review our Talking Points against the bill, visit


La « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » (Bill C-484) sera soumise à un vote de la Chambre des communes le 5 mars. Ce projet de loi constitue un danger réel pour les droits de toutes les femmes enceintes et pour les droits des femmes en général.

Veuillez signer la pétition ci-dessous pour réclamer du Parlement qu’il rejette ce projet de loi. Pour en savoir plus, visitez:


WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RESIDENTS OF CANADA, draw the attention of the House to the following:

THAT the proposed “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” conflicts with the Criminal Code, because it grants a type of legal personhood to fetuses, fetuses being non-persons under the law.

THAT giving any legal recognition to fetuses would necessarily compromise women’s established rights.

THAT pregnant women being assaulted or killed is largely a domestic violence issue and “fetal homicide” laws elsewhere have done nothing to reduce domestic violence against pregnant women or their fetuses.

THAT the proposed “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” is a dangerous step towards re-criminalizing abortion and it could also criminalize pregnant women for behaviours perceived to harm their fetuses.

THAT the proposed bill’s exemptions for pregnant women may not work since, in the U.S., arrests of pregnant women have occurred even under state fetal homicide laws that make exemptions for the pregnant woman.

THAT the best way to protect fetuses is to provide pregnant women the supports and resources they need for a good pregnancy outcome, including protection from domestic violence.

THEREFORE your petitioners call upon Members of Parliament to oppose “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act” (Bill C-484).


NOUS, SOUSSIGNÉS, DES RÉSIDENTS ET RÉSIDENTES DU CANADA, désirons porter à l’attention de la Chambre des communes

QUE la proposition de « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » entre en conflit avec le Code criminel, du fait d’accorder aux fotus un genre de statut légal de personne, alors que les fœtus ne sont pas des personnes en loi.

QUE le fait d’accorder quelque reconnaissance légale aux fœtus compromettrait nécessairement les droits établis des femmes.

QUE les agressions ou les meurtres de femmes enceintes sont surtout un enjeu de violence conjugale et que les lois sur « l’homicide fœtal » adoptées ailleurs n’ont rien fait pour réduire la violence conjugale exercée contre les femmes enceintes ou leurs fœtus.

QUE la « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » proposée est un pas dangereux dans la voie d’une recriminalisation de l’avortement et qu’elle pourrait également criminaliser des femmes enceintes pour des comportements perçus comme portant préjudice à leurs fœtus.

QUE les exclusions relatives aux femmes enceintes prévues au projet de loi pourraient ne pas fonctionner puisque l’on a vu, aux États-Unis, des femmes enceintes être arrêtées, même en vertu de lois étatiques sur l’homicide fœtal qui prévoyaient des exclusions relatives à la femme enceinte.

QUE la meilleure façon de protéger des fœtus est de fournir aux femmes enceintes les soutiens et les ressources dont elles ont besoin pour mener à bien leur grossesse, y compris une protection contre la violence conjugale.

À CES CAUSES, les pétitionnaires demandent au Parlement de rejeter la « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » (Bill C-484).

Sign the petition!

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PSA: Stop Ken Epp’s Stealth Assault On Women’s Rights

by matttbastard


Unborn Victims of Crime bill?” My black baby-eating ass; try “back-door abortion ban“. There–FTFY, Kenny-boy.

(video by pale @ ACR)

Fern Hill puts out the pro-choice call to arms @ Birth Pangs; Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada provides the 411 re: Bill C-484 (additional talking points here).

Click here to send an automatic message to Stephane Dion demanding that he follow the lead of the Bloc and the NDP by whipping the Liberal caucus.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers