Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 28, 2008
COLF chair urges support for unborn victims bill
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Organization of Life and Family is urging Canadians to support Bill C-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act.
Conservative MP Ken Epp introduced the private member's bill to make harming an unborn child while committing a violent attack on its mother an additional offence under the Criminal Code.
Under the present law, someone who assaults or kills a pregnant woman and also causes the death of her unborn child only faces charges pertaining to the crime against the mother.
Dignity of unborn child
"Bill C-484 is a welcome development because it recognizes, at least in the case of violent assault against the mother, the human dignity of the unborn child and the value of human life," says Bishop Jean Gagnon, chairman of COLF's board of directors.
"If the bill is adopted, the unborn child that is hurt or killed would also be considered a crime victim, together with its mother, who had chosen to carry the child until birth," said Gagnon, bishop of Quebec's Gasp‚ Diocese.
Bill C-484 passed second reading in the House of Commons by a 147-132 vote March 5 and has now gone to the justice committee. The committee has 60 sitting days to report to the House of Commons, unless it asks for a 30-day extension.
"The public debate around Bill C-484 is now heating up, and some citizens are alleging that the bill threatens the 'right to abortion,'" Gagnon said.
"This is incorrect, as this bill is worded to preserve the possibility that a woman may choose an abortion, and would not grant any rights to unborn children whose mothers chose to abort them."
Epp has said he introduced the bill because of several cases involving the murder of pregnant women, resulting in the death of their unborn babies. He also knows of a case where a pregnant woman survived an assault but her baby died.
An Environics poll last autumn showed about 60 per cent of Canadians support some protection for the unborn, and 75 per cent of those surveyed said they would support a law to protect unborn crime victims.
COLF urges Catholics to print off the petition at www.kenepp.com (found under the "issue hotlinks" menu.) The petition can be signed, circulated and mailed to Epp postage free.