Sample Letter Opposing the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act”
June 10, 2008
Below is a sample letter you can email to your MP opposing Conservative MP Ken Epp’s private member’s bill C-484, “Unborn Victims of Crime Act.” The bill passed Second Reading on March 5 and is now with the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST) for review. You can just copy and paste the sample letter into an email or your word processing program. Feel free to edit the letter or write your own.
Please look up your MP here: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC. You can also send your letter to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights:
Miriam Burke, Clerk of the Committee
Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Also, please visit your MP to register your opposition to the bill. You can give them a copy of our Talking Points against the bill. Also use these Talking Points to help write your own letters or emails.
I’m writing to register my opposition to Conservative MP Ken Epp’s private member Bill C-484, the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act.” I urge you to please oppose this bill in Parliament. This bill is a backdoor attempt to re-criminalize abortion by giving fetuses a form of legal personhood. Mr. Epp’s bill is being promoted only by religious groups and anti-abortion groups and individuals, some of whom expect to use the law (if passed) to restrict abortion. The bill flies in the face of Canadian legal precedent supporting the equality rights of women, including pregnant women’s sovereignty over their fetuses (Supreme Court’s Dobson vs. Dobson, 1999). Further, his bill establishes personhood for fetuses, negating the Criminal Code definition, which says “A child becomes a human being … when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.” It would degrade the rule of law in this country to enact a contradictory law that throws women’s rights into confusion.
Further, although Mr. Epp’s bill exempts both abortion and pregnant women from prosecution, similar laws in some U.S. states have been used to target pregnant women anyway, for actions perceived to harm their fetuses (See the website of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, at: http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/issues/unborn_victims_of_violence_act/) In practice, these “feticide” laws create a dangerous slippery slope towards the criminalizing of pregnant women for behaviours that are not criminalized for anyone else.
I’m greatly saddened by the horrific tragedies of pregnant women being murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. But the real issue here is domestic violence against women. Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women. Instead of supporting Mr. Epp’s bill, could you please advocate instead for more resources to reduce violence against pregnant women? Also, the law already allows more serious penalties to be imposed for third parties who attack pregnant women, so this bill is unecessary. I urge you to please oppose this bill to ensure that both abortion rights and the rights of pregnant women are respected. Thank you very much,