Statement on Proposed Bill C 484

Catholics for a Free Choice – Canada
Toronto, ON

(February 2008)

“Unborn Victims of Crime Act”

It is the position of Catholics for a Free Choice Canada that Bill C484,  soon to be debated in the House of Commons, is to be opposed.

We urge Members of Parliament to reason through the emotional context around this bill and take steps to oppose it.

It purports to add strength to society’s abhorrence of a murder of a woman if she is pregnant by granting life status to her fetus, and doubling the number of charges that could be brought against a perpetrator.

However, it has another effect, either intentional or unintentional, which  introduces “by the back door” a legal concept that life begins before birth. The proposed Bill would grant legal personhood to a fetus. But Canadian jurisprudence has consistently held that life begins at birth.

We educate and lobby for a woman’s right to choose, and we support the current state of affairs by which a decision around terminating a pregnancy is one for the woman and her physician.

Such a new piece of legislation could by logical consequence entail re criminalizing abortion in Canada. It is a private member’s bill, introduced by a person who vigorously opposes abortion, and it is supported by Canada’s “pro life” lobby.

Moreover, it takes away the focus from the real issue of violence against pregnant women. Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women and new mothers, and violence against women increases during pregnancy. What is needed is better efforts to protect women from violence from male partners.