The Doors, "Back Door Man" (1969)
Men don't know,
But the little girls understand.
Update: Bill C-484 will be debated in the Commons for one hour today, 3 March, beginning at 11 a.m. EST. The vote on the bill will be on Friday, 7 March, 5.30 p.m.
Further update: The vote is scheduled for Wednesday, 5 March. Maybe. The truth is, we now don't know when the hell the vote will be.
Today (25 February) and Friday, a private member’s bill called the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” (C-484), introduced by Ken Epp (Con, Edmonton Sherwood) last November, is up for debate on second reading in the House of Commons; it will be up for voting on 5 March.
If Mr Epp’s claims about the noble aims of this bill were true, then the bill would already have been withdrawn because, in those terms, it is a stupid bill. Mr Epp wants the Criminal Code amended to allow separate homicide charges to be laid against anyone who harms the fetus during an attack on a pregnant woman. As it stands, though, the Criminal Code already allows for more severe sentencing when the victim of an attack is pregnant. Hive off the aggravation charges to a separate charge related to the fetus, and you’re back to a shorter sentence since criminal sentences in Canada typically run concurrently.
Somehow, though, one senses that redress for the murder of a woman and the baby she wanted is not Mr Epp’s purpose, however much he keeps claiming it is (and he does keep claiming that). C-484 is a sneak attempt to reintroduce the personhood of the fetus into Canadian law, and if it succeeds, we will be well on the road to criminalizing abortion again.
That Mr Epp would be more familiar with American law, where such sneak attacks have worked, much to the detriment of the health of women, is hardly surprising. If we can believe BQ MP Raymond Gravel, who is a Catholic priest (and I think we should), C-484 is problematic
... because the member putting it forward is part of a pro-life group, the Campaign Life Coalition, which in my view is a rather extreme fanatical group, when it comes to life ... I’m pro-life but I’m not part of the pro-life movement in Canada ... I also think this bill will open the door to a re-criminalization of women who have abortions, and that’s not to be desired. I’m against abortion, but this is no way to solve the problem of abortion. It’s through education, through outreach, through helping women who have undesired pregnancies I think that’s how to solve the problem of abortion. But not recriminalizing abortion, I don’t ever want to see that happen.
As far as we know, both the Bloc and the NDP will vote en bloc against this execrable attempt to introduce American fundamentalist ideology into Canadian law through the back door. Most of the Tory caucus will probably vote for it. And so, once again, as so often in our history, we are stuck with ... oh, those guys. You know who I mean. Mr Dion has not so far undertaken to whip his caucus, and there have been disturbing irrationalist noises from individual Liberals like Derek Lee.
There are things people can do.
Please sign this online petition against Bill C-484.
There have been so many brilliant blogposts over the last several weeks about the dishonesty and dangers of Ken Epp’s bill, some of which I’ve linked to above. I hesitate to start listing more because I know I’d leave some greats out, but this fine analysis yesterday from 900ft Jesus at A Creative Revolution struck me as a handy and inspiring summary: “I guess women are getting stronger.”
Oh, and you can write to Stéphane Dion. There’s a handy-dandy form right here.
Thanks to so many at Bread and Roses and the collective campaign for One Body, One Person, One Count.
In case anyone is still in any doubt, we're not going back there. No more back doors, and no more back alleys, Mr Epp.