To Organizations: Please sign an open statement opposing Bill C-484.

(This statement was drafted by a coalition of women’s groups.)

To sign, please send an email with your organization’s name (in both French and English if applicable) to . Type “Signing open statement” in the Subject line.

(Note: Individuals should sign the online petition.)

Thank you!

Statement in opposition to Bill C‑484, the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act”

Last March, Bill C 484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, passed second reading in the House of Commons. This bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code and to create a separate offence for causing the injury or death of an “unborn child” when a pregnant woman is the victim of a crime. This would mean that the murderer of a pregnant woman could be accused of a second murder, that of the foetus.

This amendment would not protect pregnant women, and would do nothing to respond to violence against women. The Criminal Code already recognizes that spousal violence is an aggravating factor in sentencing. Judges already do recognize pregnancy as an aggravating factor in sentencing. What is really at stake here is the legal recognition of the fetus’ right to life and the possible re-criminalization of abortion.

In Canadian law, only “human beings” have a right to life. Legally, a child becomes a human being once it is born and has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.  In all the cases in which the Supreme Court of Canada was required to discuss the rights of the unborn, it ruled that the fetus is an integral part of the mother and has no independent legal personhood until it is born. Murder is the act of causing the death of a human being.  Recognizing the murder of a pregnant woman as a “double murder”, would be tantamount to recognizing that the foetus is a human being.

The adoption of Bill C 484 would introduce a major change in our law, since it would in effect recognize that a fetus has a “right to life”. This would undoubtedly result in massive intrusions in the lives of pregnant women, as has been the case in those states in the U.S. that have adopted similar legislation.  Some women have been criminally charged, and have been imprisoned for having a stillborn baby after refusing a caesarean, or for using drugs while pregnant.

Last January, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision that struck down the Criminal Code provisions that made abortion a crime in Canada. This historic Supreme Court decision recognized that women’s constitutional rights to security of the person, autonomy and freedom include the right to end an unwanted pregnancy without state interference.

We the undersigned demand that all federal political parties and all members of Parliament:

  • Oppose the adoption of Bill C-484
  • Commit to protect women’s reproductive rights, and ensure that quality public health care abortion services are accessible in all regions of Canada and in Québec.
  • Take effective measures to eliminate violence against women, in consultation with women’s groups

This is a question that goes to the heart of women’s equality, dignity and human rights.

List of Signatories

  • Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada / Coalition pour le droit à l’avortement au Canada (ARCC-CDAC)
  • Action Canada Population Development / Action Canada pour la population et le développement (ACPD)
  • Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes
  • Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights / la Coalition spéciale pour l’égalité des femmes et les droits de la personne
  • L’Association générale étudiante du Cégep du Vieux Montréal
  • Atira Women’s Resource Society / Société De la Ressource Des Femmes D’Atira, Vancouver
  • BC Teachers’ Federation, Vancouver
  • BC Teachers’ Federation Feminist Caucus, Vancouver
  • BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses
  • British Columbia Women’s Hospital & Health Centre
  • CALACS francophone d’Ottawa
  • Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies / Associations canadiennes des sociétées Elizabeth Fry
  • Canadian Federation for Sexual Health / Fédération canadienne pour la santé sexuelle (CFSH)
  • Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) / La Fédération canadienne des syndicats d’infirmières et infirmiers (FCSII)
  • Canadian Federation of University Women / Fédération canadienne des femmes diplômées des universités (CFUW)
  • Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action / L’Alliance canadienne féministe pour l’action internationale (FAFIA/AFAI)
  • Canadian Labour Congress / Congrès du travail du Canada
  • Canadian Staff Union / Syndicat Canadien du Personnel
  • Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) / Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses des postes (STTP)
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees / Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (CUPE)
  • Canadians for Choice / L’Association canadienne pour la liberté de choix
  • Catholics for Free Choice Canada / Catholiques pour un Libre Choix Canada
  • Centre de Santé des femmes de Montréal
  • Centre Novas, CALACS francophone de Prescott-Russell, Casselman ON
  • Le Centre Victoria pour femmes (Sudbury et Algoma)
  • Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Manitoba
  • La Coalition Solidarité Santé, Québec
  • Colibri – Centre des femmes francophones du comté de Simcoe
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) / Collège des médecins de famille du Canada (CMFC)
  • Communications, Energy, and Paper Workers Union of Canada (CEP) / Le Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’énergie et du papier (SCEP)
  • CUPE Ontario Women’s Committee
  • Egale Canada / Égale Canada
  • Everywoman’s Health Centre, Vancouver BC
  • La Fédération des femmes du Québec
  • La Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances (FQPN)
  • Federation of Medical Women of Canada / Fédération des femmes médecins du Canada
  • Graduate Women’s Studies Student’s Association, York University
  • Halifax Coalition for Choice
  • Hospital Employees’ Union, Vancouver
  • International Women’s Rights Project – Canada Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria Kitchen Table Collective / Le Collectif de Table de cuisine
  • Klinic Community Health Center, Winnipeg
  • Law Union of Ontario
  • Maison secours aux femmes de Montréal
  • Manitoba Association for Childbirth and Family Education (MACFE)
  • Miss G__ Project, Ottawa Chapter
  • National Abortion Federation
  • National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) / L’Association nationale Femmes et Droit (ANFD)  
  • National Council of Women of Canada / Conseil national des femmes du Canada
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Feminist Coalition
  • North Shore Women’s Centre / Centre des Femmes de la Rive Nord, North Vancouver
  • Northern Society for Domestic Peace, Smithers BC
  • Nova House, Selkirk MB
  • Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)
  • Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics
  • Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation/ Fédération des enseignantes-enseignants des écoles secondaires de l’Ontario (OSSTF/FEESO)
  • Ontario Women’s Health Network / Réseau ontarien pour la santé des femmes
  • Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women / Coalition d’Ottawa contre la violence faite aux femmes
  • Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health, New Glasgow, NS
  • Planned Parenthood Ottawa / Planning des naissances d’Ottawa
  • Planned Parenthood Toronto
  • Powell River Transition House Society, Powell River BC
  • Prince Edward Island Advisory Council on the Status of Women / Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard
  • Pro-Choice Action Network, Vancouver
  • Pro-Choice New Brunswick
  • Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, Regina
  • Public Service Alliance of Canada / Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada, Ottawa
  • Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre Collective, Quesnel BC
  • Quinte Labour Council, Ontario
  • L’R des centres de femmes du Québec (qui représente 102 centres de femmes partout dans la province)
  • Regroupement provincial des maisons d’hébergement et de transition pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale, Québec
  • Revelstoke Women’s Shelter, Revelstoke BC
  • Sexual Health Access Alberta, Calgary
  • Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County, Amherst NS
  • Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba, Inc.
  • Sisyphe
  • South Fraser Women’s Services Society, Surrey BC
  • Surrey Women’s Centre
  • University of Alberta Women’s Centre, Edmonton
  • Vernon Women’s Transition House, Vernon BC
  • Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre / Centre de Femmes Victoria Faulkner, Whitehorse
  • Womanspace Resource Centre, Lethbridge AB
  • Women Elders in Action (WE*ACT), Vancouver
  • Women’s Habitat, Toronto
  • Women’s Health Clinic, Winnipeg
  • Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund / Fonds d’action et d’education juridiques pour les femmes (LEAF)
  • Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Yukon Status of Women Council, Whitehorse
  • YWCA Canada
  • YWCA Munroe House, Vancouver BC
Print Friendly, PDF & Email