Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 5, 2007
Protect unborn victims of violence, says Canadians
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
A recent poll shows 72 per cent of Canadians would support a bill to protect unborn victims of violence. Among women, support rises to 75 per cent.
Such a bill, however, shows no signs of showing up in the Conservative's tough-on-crime agenda.
Nor will Conservative MP Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright) comment on whether he will try to bring back his May 2006 private member's bill C-291. The bill would have made it a crime to injure or kill an unborn child while in the commission of a violent offence against the mother.
A House committee deemed Benoit's bill unconstitutional before it ever reached the Commons floor for a vote.
LifeCanada, a national educational pro-life organization, commissioned the Environics Focus Canada poll that surveyed 2,047 Canadians from Sept. 17 to Oct. 14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus two per cent 19 times out of 20.
Pregnant women killed
Five pregnant women have been murdered in Canada over the past three years, most recently Aysun Sesen, 25, of Toronto, who died Oct. 2 after she was stabbed in the abdomen. Her husband has been charged with murder.
Her brother-in-law Aydin Cocelli, 33, has asked for a meeting with the prime minister to urge him to change the Criminal Code to recognize a fetus as human.
"My sister-in-law got killed, but her baby got killed too, and that should count," he told the CanWest News Service.
On Oct. 23, five days after Life Canada released its survey results, a Winnipeg judge sentenced a 17-year-old Winnipeg young offender to a six-year prison term and four years probation after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for his role in the beating-death of Roxanne Fernando, 24.
The man, who cannot be identified, admitted Fernando was killed because she refused to have an abortion. Two other men face charges in this case.
She wanted a family
Benoit brought in his bill after the brutal murder of a 19-year old Edmonton woman and her unborn child named Lane J.
"Olivia Talbot, a young woman from Edmonton with her whole life ahead of her, had chosen to keep her child and raise a family," he told the House of Commons May 17, 2006. "An ex-boyfriend brutally shot and killed her and then shot and killed her unborn child."
"Almost three-quarters of Canadians want a law to protect these babies," said LifeCanada president Joanne Byfield.
"They recognize that the fetus is a human being no matter what the law says and they see it as an injustice that someone can kill these babies with impunity while attacking the mother."
There are news reports that the Conservative government blocked Benoit's bill after advice from officials that it would lead to decriminalizing abortion.
Some supporters of the bill have argued it would apply only in cases where a woman had decided to bring a baby to term.
Canada has no law protecting the unborn at any stage of development. An unborn baby is not considered a person until it is delivered.