Sample Letter Opposing Bill C-510, to prohibit “coerced abortion”
December 6, 2010
Please send a letter to your MP asking them to vote against the private member’s bill C-510, “an act to amend the Criminal Code (coerced abortion).” The bill was introduced in April and debated on November 1st for the first time. It is scheduled for a second round of debate on Dec 13, and the vote is expected to take place on December 15.
Below is a sample letter that you can copy and paste into an email or a letter. Feel free to edit the letter or write your own.
For more info on the bill, see ARCC’s press release:
Also, a clever alternate bill banning coerced childbirth can be found here: http://pamelacross.blogspot.com/2010/04/rewriting-bill-c-510.html
Thank you! (and please send this link to your friends!)
Subject: Please vote against Bill C-510
Dear [insert your MP’s name]
I’m writing to ask you to please vote on December 15 against Bill C-510, an act to prohibit “coerced abortion.” This bill is just another disguised anti-abortion bill pretending to help women. In reality, it’s designed to promote abortion stigma, paternalize women, and open the door to re-criminalizing abortion.
Bill C510 is a private member’s bill that would amend the Criminal Code to prohibit coercing a woman into an abortion via physical or financial threats, illegal acts, or through “argumentative and rancorous badgering or importunity”. It was introduced in April by anti-abortion Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South), who chairs the “Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.” The bill was debated on November 1st, and is scheduled for a second debate on Dec 13, with a vote expected on December 15.
I am against this bill because it patronizes women by implying they are frequently coerced into abortion. However, the vast majority of women make their own decision to have an abortion and take responsibility for it. Further, if a pregnant woman is coerced, it is just as likely – if not more likely – that she will be pressured to bring a pregnancy to term. I am against any type of coercion, and must point out that the main purpose of the anti-choice movement is to force women to carry every pregnancy to term by recriminalizing abortion. Further, many women are emotionally harmed by anti-choice people pressuring them NOT to have an abortion, in particular staff at “crisis pregnancy centres.” (See http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/Exposing-CPCs-in-BC.pdf)
If the intent of this bill is supposedly to protect pregnant women from abusive partners, we need better and more comprehensive solutions than a criminal law approach. Women need pay equity, affordable childcare, legal aid, and other measures that will empower them to leave abusive relationships.
Bill C-510 is an unnecessary and redundant bill because threats and illegal acts are already illegal under the Criminal Code, and counselors at clinics already screen for possible coercion in women seeking abortion. However, the anti-choice movement falsely believes that abortion providers coerce women into abortions, so I worry that this bill may encourage frivolous charges against providers and add to the atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Providers have lived with the constant threat of harassment and violence by anti-abortionists for over 20 years in Canada, and they do not need even more to worry about.
Thank you in advance for voting against Bill C510.