A Conservative MP wants Canadian laws to change to recognize fetuses as separate victims when killed or harmed in attacks on pregnant women.
Ken Epp spoke at a news conference Thursday to shore up support for his private member’s bill slated to be put to a vote on March 5.
Opponents have argued that the bill reopens the abortion debate as to whether a fetus is a human being.
But Mr. Epp says the proposed unborn victims of crime act is constitutional and would not change the Criminal Code in any way that would undermine women’s legal access to abortion.
The purpose of the bill, said Mr. Epp, is to fill an important gap in Canadian law that allows the killer of a pregnant woman to be charged in the mother’s death but not the fetus’s.
Canadian law does not recognize fetuses as human beings until they are born alive.
Mr. Epp says the proposed act is supported by people of all political stripes because it only focuses on criminal attacks when a third party harms or kills a fetus.
But Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada spokeswoman Joyce Arthur said judges and parole boards can already take the injury or death of a fetus into account. (Read The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada’s response here.)
The bill would create redundant protections, Ms. Arthur said, and it is being promoted by anti-abortion groups.
…this post forwarded by Windsor Humanist, Alexander Neil, after a February 14, 2008 article on The CBC News website