Obay Revealed

With "friends" like these...

There is a private member's bill on the Federal docket that's making me and a lot of other people nervous.

The Unborn Victims of Crime bill would amend the criminal code so that separate charges can be laid if a fetus is injured or dies as the result of harm against a pregnant woman. 

(As an aside, when I put in the link to the bill http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3127600&file=4. that I pulled from a  pro-choice site, it goes to an anti-choice site that I won't link t0 called LifeSite news through some sort of internet trickery--ick.  I wrote to the Abortion Rights Coalition to let them know).

Apparently the bill was drafted in response to demands from the families of pregnant women who were killed in acts of domestic violence, which often starts or escalates during pregnancy.  However, instead of enforcing laws that already exist and actually doing something to prevent domestic violence, Conservative MP Ken Epp comes up with this bill which looks a whole lot like a thinly veiled anti-abortion law.

(Just so you know the abortion law was struck down 20 years ago so it's essentially legal, though access is not uniform/unproblematic across the country).

There is a good critique of the bill here and I urge you to read it.  The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada also has a sample letter opposing the bill that you can send to your MP.  Private member's bills seldom pass, but the anti-woman stance of this government (even in a minority parliament position) makes me less optimistic.

I would like to  add that I am fed up with this exaltation of "breeders".  That being pregnant adds some other saintly dimension to a woman's personhood that makes crimes against HER more heinous than crimes against women who are older, younger, infertile or not currently gestating. 

Violence against women is WRONG regardless of the current state of a woman's uterus. 


I'm glad I read the critique before commenting... on the surface it seems like a good idea to allow for separate charges if harm is done to a woman and her fetus. It makes me incredibly angry to hear about a woman and her nearly 9 month old fetus being killed and the murderer is not charged with the death of the fetus... BUT I do agree that this bill is not the way to go about things. It is a slippery slope to taking away even MORE rights from women everywhere. We need to have WAY tougher charges for violence against women but I also feel that those charges should carry even more weight if the women is pregnant.

You go grrrl! Both my partner and I are cheering you on from Australia - she is particularly sensitive to these issues as 'the poor woman' is childless (by choice, I might add)..

That's a tricksy back door method to erode abortion rights. The politicians who vote against it because they can see the bill for what it really is are called out as being anti-woman/family and soft on domestic crimes by the party who tables this "law".

If our gov't were serious about protecting ALL victims of domestic violence there are other far more effective ways to do it but what do you expect from a Cabinet that a PM who admitted he believes in Creationism, oh sorry "Intelligent Design".

Ugh. I heard about this and it just makes me feel sick to my stomach to think about it.

(deleted ranty pre-coffee Reform Party comments)

What an excellent post. I hope you don't mind I've used your post as the basis for an email I've sent out to other activists. I keep watching women's rights being eroded south of the border, and with "George Jr." sitting in Ottawa we won't be far behind.

While I can see reasons for prosecuting for the death of fetus and mother, I agree with your last statement. I wish government would butt out of women's rights.

When I was a student at Harvard (many years ago), I went to a pro-choice rally in Washington, and all the men who went carried signs that read, "Harvard men for choice--It's none of my business." I wish government would take the same approach.

Laws governing a woman and her body seem to be such backwards thinking. By 'protecting' women, what is really being done is controlling us.

As for "exaltation of breeders," this seems to me to go hand in hand with the sense of entitlement that many mothers feel. There are days where it takes a lot of self control to not point out that I take far less sick days, because I can't count on the various mothers coming in, regardless of how valid their reasons are.

I just keep writing and then deleting, writing then deleting...

After careful consideration, and writing my MP, here is the calmest thing I can say.


nope. Still not calm enough.

Let's face it, a certain type of male has been trying to control the female part of the population since Pontius was a Pilot !!

I read once that in the Middle Ages in certain countries a woman could be punished for a miscarriage or still-birth - it was all her fault the Church did not have another soul to dominate!

Amen sister!

I think the central issue here IS that violence against women is wrong and that there exist already laws against rape, battery, assault, etc that should be enforced regardless of whether or not that woman is pregnant, infertile, just suffered a miscarriage, or never intends to have children. Being pregnant shouldn't mean that you are a better or more saintly woman, whose violation is therefore more horrible, than a woman who is not pregnant.

Thanks for the heads-up on this. I was aware of such legislation in the States, but didn't know that it was up for discussion here. Off to write a letter to my MP (unfortunately a Conservative!)

Thanks for the heads-up on this. I was aware of such legislation in the States, but didn't know that it was up for discussion here. Off to write a letter to my MP (unfortunately a Conservative!)

Amen and amen. Thank you for bringing this to my attention; the letter is in the mail.
I love your courage in taking this extremely contentious issue to your blog. You're braver than I am, especially with the "exultation of the breeder" comment. I wish I said that! :)

I think they're trying to open a door that should remain shut.

How many pediatricians/family doctors, nurses and hospitals could allegedly fall under the proposed bill?

No point in writing to my MP. He's a Conservative whose solution to the daycare space crises is to use the $100 child allowance. Pea soup, just as Harper likes all his MPs to be.

I should have followed the link to the critique before posting. It was very good.

Nice post. Thanks for flagging the bill, which I hadn't heard of.

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