Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2010
MP launches effort to protect women from forced abortions
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - The Harper government will not support Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge's bill to prevent women from being coerced into having abortions. That means the new private member's bill stands little chance of passing.
The Winnipeg South MP, who chairs the all-party parliamentary pro-life caucus, introduced Bill C-510 into the House of Commons April 14.
The Conservative backbencher told journalists the next day he had support from members of other parties as well as from within Tory ranks.
Bruinooge named his bill Roxanne's Law, after Roxanne Fernando, a 23-year-old Winnipeg woman whose boyfriend attempted to coerce her into an abortion in 2007. When she refused, the boyfriend hired his best friend to kill her, Bruinooge said.
"Even under intense pressure and coercion, Roxanne chose life," he said. "After several beatings meant to kill her and her baby, both were buried alive in a snow bank where they eventually died."
Bruinooge said he hoped his bill would prevent threats and coercion from escalating to murder. He also said it would send a message to Canadian society that coercing a woman to have an abortion is wrong.
"Roxanne's story had a big impact on me personally," said Bruinooge.
He said he has heard many stories of women being intimidated into having abortions. He insisted the bill has nothing to do with whether abortion remains legal and expected MPs who are pro-choice to support the bill.
The Harper government quickly distanced itself from the bill.
"With respect to Mr. Bruinooge's bill, the government will not initiate or support any legislation that reopens the abortion debate," said Andrew McDougall, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office April 16, in an email.
Bruinooge said he respects the prime minister's position. "I find it unfortunate, though, that, in Canada, we are resistant to discuss any legal matter that in any way relates to abortion. I think that's not healthy for our country."
PUSHED AND PULLED
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes recalled once seeing a young woman being pushed and pulled into the Morgentaler Clinic in Toronto. "She had planted her heels," he said, "They were dragging her through the back door."
Angelina Steenstra of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign said statistics gathered by David Reardon of the Elliot Institute indicate 64 per cent of women are coerced into abortion, though the coercion is often subtle.
Steenstra said she often hears the stories of women who did not feel they had a choice. Some are threatened with divorce and live with a terrible sense of shame and powerlessness that they did not protect their unborn child.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.