Thursday, March 6, 2008

Unborn Victims of Crime Act. Bill C-484

Private members bill C-484 has passed second reading by a vote of 147-132. This legislation makes it a criminal offence to harm a fetus while committing a crime against the mother. Lawful termination of a pregnancy, attempts to preserve the life of the mother or child and any act by the mother are specifically exempt from this law.

Pro-abortion groups are concerned that this is a backhanded attempt to make abortion illegal. There would also be accusations of the Conservative 'hidden agenda' except for the fact that it was co-sponsored by a Liberal. The other major argument is that the majority of cases where a fetus is harmed is the result of domestic violence. This legislation does not help deal with this very important issue.

In cases of a wanted pregnancy the impending birth of a child is a great joy to the parents as they look forward to the future. In some cases the parents have waited many years and spent thousands of dollars in order to have this opportunity. Under Canadian law the fetus does not achieve recognition as being alive until birth. This legislation in no way changes that definition. It simply acknowledges that the loss of a pregnancy, while being the victim of a crime is not the same as simply being a victim of the same crime. Our legal system has harsher punishments for more severe crimes, it stands to reason that the courts acknowledge ending a potential life is much more difficult than simply being a victim.

If our courts acknowledge that 'potential lives' have more value then just another body part, perhaps society will become more sympathetic to the trauma both physically and emotionally a woman feels when losing a pregnancy.

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