Harper's plan to recriminalize abortion

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Harper's plan to recriminalize abortion


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.lawtimesnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=41... door abortion law[/url]
by Richard Cleroux



The Conservatives are bringing in anti-abortion legislation by the back door. And it's perfectly legal.

That way Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not have to break the election promise he made not to recriminalize abortion.

His backbench Conservative MPs are doing the job for him, with a little help from some Liberals. It's a complicated plan, using four members' private bills which would give a fetus the legal status of an “unborn child” - a major step towards going to the Supreme Court with a Charter challenge to ban abortion.

The “unborn child” strategy has worked in 37 U.S. states where abortion has been made illegal or severely restricted.

The strategy starts with [url=http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&query=5336&Session=... C-484[/url], the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, sponsored by Conservative MP Ken Epp, a strong Mennonite Christian. It would create a separate Criminal Code offence for killing or injuring an “unborn child” during an attack on a pregnant woman.

A killer of a pregnant woman would be charged with double murder. Women's groups fear it would also be used to charge women who seek illegal abortions with harming their “unborn child.” Under such laws in the U.S., women using drugs that abused their fetus have been jailed and had their children taken away.

Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti of Laval, Que. said he went along with the bill, thinking he was just doing something nice for women.

[url=http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&query=5136&List=toc... C-338[/url], sponsored by a Liberal MP Paul Steckle, criminalizes abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother suffers from mental problems or the fetus has severe anomalies. This legislation bothers doctors. How to tell when 20 weeks (abortion legal) is not 21 weeks (abortion criminal).

[url=http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&query=5428&Session=... C-537[/url], “protection of conscience in the health-care profession” (sounds like freedom), is sponsored by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott. It would allow doctors and nurses to refuse to perform medical acts - including abortions - that are against their religion. Abortion refusal in public hospitals, here we come. But good news for religious Muslim and Orthodox Jewish health professionals.

[url=http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&query=5439&Session=... C-543[/url] “abuse of pregnant women” would make attacking a pregnant women an “aggravating” factor.

Actually, it's already in the Criminal Code. And what about non-pregnant women?

MPs who support the legislation meet regularly for a prayer breakfast in a chapel built for religious worship inside the Parliament Buildings. Lately, to their surprise, they've been joined by Muslim and Jewish MPs, who happen to share their views on abortion.

The Quebec National Assembly recently passed a motion urging defeat of the federal legislation. It was [url=http://www.assnat.qc.ca/eng/38legislature1/pv/PA20080417.pdf]unanimous[/....

Seventy public groups have voiced opposition including anti-violence groups, women's shelters, medical organizations, legal associations, drug policy groups, and labor unions.

Nineteen of the 20 groups backing the legislation are anti-abortion, religious, or right-wing conservatives.

[ 12 July 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]