Friday 20 February 2015

It's Baaaack: Unborn Victims Bill, C484

UPDATE: December 7, 2015
This old blog-post must have been linked to somewhere because it's getting some action in the comments recently. I published a couple as you can see and there are more.

But I've said what I said and have nothing to add. Discuss this elsewhere. I will publish no more comments.


Here we go again. Another brutal murder of a pregnant woman and people are again braying for vengeance.

Firefighters discovered [Cassandra] Kaake’s body Dec. 11 after she was murdered and mutilated. Kaake, 31, was seven months pregnant. She planned to call the baby Molly.

Police said Kaake died from blood loss caused by severe trauma. The killer also allegedly torched Kaake’s Benjamin Avenue home with her body inside.

Matthew Brush, 26, from LaSalle, is charged with break and enter, arson causing property damage, possession of incendiary material for arson, arson with disregard for human life, first-degree murder and indecent interference with a dead body.
If found guilty, I think it's pretty safe to say that this fella will have the book thrown at him, including a very harsh sentence based on Canada's sensible notion of aggravating circumstances.

From a 2007 Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Position Paper on "Fetal Homicide" Law (pdf):
In Canada, the judicial system routinely takes aggravating circumstances into account. In the case of an assault or murder of a pregnant woman, even though a third party cannot be charged separately with harm to the fetus, prosecutors may recommend more serious charges (such as first degree murder or aggravated assault), judges may impose harsher penalties, and parole boards may deny parole to convicted perpetrators.

Perhaps we want a new law that codifies such practices. Thirteen U.S. states have laws that simply apply stiffer punishments for murdering a pregnant woman, but do not make the death of the fetus a separate crime. Such a solution would avoid the controversy about giving rights to fetuses or interfering with abortion rights, and would ensure that women do not lose their rights while they are pregnant.
No doubt this has been explained to the grieving family and friends, but is apparently not enough. A woman named Kim Badour started a petition to bring back Ken Epp's ill-fated private member's bill, C484.
The bill would have made it a criminal offence to cause harm to an unborn child during a crime against the mother. It passed second reading in the House of Commons but was later dropped. Badour wants to bring it back.
As the ARCC quote indicates, there are tons of problems with "fetal homicide" laws, however well-intentioned they are. (We do not believe that Epp and other fetus freaks were well-intentioned. We believe they were and are crass anti-choicers preying on the grief and outrage of bereaved families in order to bring in anti-abortion legislation by the infamous back door.)

So what does Official Fetus Freakdom have to say?

Perhaps surprisingly, it is quite clear-eyed and balanced (!!!!) in its response. First the obligatory whine.

[Mary-Ellen]Douglas [spokesperson for Campaign Life Coalition] hopes a pro-life MP will take up Bill C-484 but doesn’t give it much chance of passage. “Harper stopped it the first time,” she said, and there is no reason to believe he won’t do the same again.

But next, a pretty straight account of the other side.
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) opposed Bill C-484 then and still does, seeing it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While it appeals to all concerned about violence against women, according to ARCC, it really targets women’s “reproductive rights.” ARCC’s Joyce Arthur told LifeSiteNews that 38 U.S. states (and the U.S. federal government) have passed unborn victims laws or other “fetal personhood” measures that have “resulted in hundreds of pregnant women with wanted pregnancies being arrested or prosecuted, or subjected to forced interventions, for behavior perceived as potentially harmful to the fetus.”

Arthur cites a study titled Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973–2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health, and further studies by the same researchers, Lynn Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin. They count 780 instances since 1973 (380 of them since 2005) of women jailed or institutionalized by the courts either to get them off drugs during their “wanted” pregnancy or on suspicion they deliberately caused themselves to miscarry, but sometimes when women merely resisted doctors’ wishes that they deliver by caesarean section. 

None of the laws used were intended to jail pregnant women, the researchers report, and about 10 percent of the arrests fell under unborn victims of crime laws.
The piece ends with another obligatory whining flourish.
Mary Ellen Douglas countered, however: “Joyce Arthur and her crowd will do anything to avoid talking about the 4 million unborn children that have been legally aborted in Canada. They can’t face that reality.”
Here's a link to the executive summary of the study Arthur cites. It is a chilling documentation of the criminalization of pregnancy in the US, resulting in arrests, trials, and imprisonment of mostly poor, vulnerable women.

Two recent examples show the gross injustice these laws enable, both cases targetting women of colour: Purvi Patel and Bei Bei Shuai.

But however tragic these cases are -- whether they involve murder, spousal abuse, sustance abuse, or mental health issues -- there will always be the opportunists.

Like Mike Schouten of We Need a Law (Like a Hole in the Head).

It is particularly rich that Schouten with his astroturf organization -- set up by Dominionist Association for Reformed Political Action to jump on "gendercide", or the alleged MASSIVE phenom in "certain" communities of aborting female fetuses -- would attach itself to a proposed law that would target poor, vulnerable women like Patel and Shuai.

Ah well, "gendercide," "fetal homicide," criminalized pregnancies, grieving families, targetted "communities" -- what does it matter to people on a Mission from Gawd?

Here's our Minister of National Defense at ARPA's "God & Government 2014" bunfest.

(Yes, I realize that photo is irrelevant, but I like it.)

UPDATE, Feb. 25/15: Windsor Star is running a poll on whether a fetal homicide law is needed. And as commenter Anon says, people are letting their emotions get in the way of the actual threat to women's rights such a law would present.


k'in said...

The freaks motto oughta be "A Nose in Every Crotch"

deBeauxOs said...

With the Harper regime, it's all CONnected somehow. The photo of Kenney is fitting.

fern hill said...

And that Anon comment is a perfect example of the unthinking vengeance-mindedness these laws pander to.

Anonymous said...

OMG - can you people please go to the Windsor Star poll page and reverse the nonsense? People just don't get how BILL C484 will be bad for women - they are letting their emotions run rampant.

fern hill said...

I just saw that poll and added a link to the blog post. This is how people get manipulated by Big Fetus.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late commenting on this blog but better late than never they say. I have to say that this is the most ignorant,self centered, callous blog I have seen and read in a very long time.

Anonymous said...

My son was born at 7 months into term ( 2 months premature) , my daughter 8 months ( 1 month premature).. it is a living being!! What the fk don't people get?? Is this world that sick minded to actually think it is OK for someone to murder anyone, let alone an infant?? Yes an infant!! Molly would have been here in our arms had she been deivered at that term of pregnancy.. Cassie was one of my best friends... however I called her "Lil Miss Molly".. and so did a plant of 400 ... Cassie fell in love with the name so much she desided to name her unborn daughter Molly Grace.... Since this unspeakable massacre took place I have sat back and read the ignorance, the cold and evil hearted comments of some... I have listened to rumors of what took place-- I have read people flap off at their pie holes , when clearly they were absolutely clueless as to what they were flappin off about... God forbid !!! And believe me when I say to all you fkn morons out there!!!! God forbid it happen close to you !! Your mother, your daugher, your grand daughter, your sister, your wife, your best friend..... God forbid you ever feel the terror, the anger, the hurt, the unanswered questions, the depression, the untrust of the world, and the undying heartache we ALL feel... God forbid......

fern hill said...

We don't usually publish comments on very old blog-posts, but since you obviously feel strongly about this, we made an exception.

I have one question, should you decide to return and answer: What difference would a new law to "protect" (which it obviously cannot do) fetuses make?

We -- callously, if you like -- suggest that it would make no difference whatsoever. It would neither deter nor more seriously punish such acts.

All it would do is address -- it would hardly satisfy -- some people's desire for vengeance.

It would also put at risk Canada's humane and envied abortion protocol.

It's a bad idea.

Jeff Durham said...

A - It would more seriously punish such an act. To say it would not is a fallacy perpetuated in ignorance.
B - It would provide restorative justice to the victims (surviving family) by acknowledging the reality of the crime, and thereby give them rights instead of the sick individual capable of such a heinous act.
C - It would serve to protect a woman's choice and make it so that the choice can only be made by HER!

Ultimately, there is no reason a well worded law that considers the true reality of horrifically sick act has to affect the right of any woman and her choice to have an abortion. On the contrary, it would serve to protect her choice if she chose to bear children.
The only remotely logical argument that can be made against such a law is that such wording is impossible, and to anyone who thinks that, I will gladly buy them a dictionary and refer them to the definitions of abortion, and then homicide, and if they still think they mean the same thing, then that person was probably destined to remain an idiot for life.
I think your blog is uneducated, has no compassion, and only serves to perpetuate complacency and falsehood in a world that is already abundant in such things.
Now let me ask you a question:
Did you actually read Bill C-484? I already know the answer. Please educate yourself and try a bit of empathy on for size before you undermine something that is so terribly important to so many. Justice. - JD (Molly's Father)

fern hill said...

First, let me say I'm sorry for your loss.

I have read C-484.

I don't agree with your reading of it.

Do you know anything about how such "fetal homicide" laws are used to criminalize pregnancy in the US?

I agree that a well-worded law might avoid such horrors, but I do not trust the usual suspects to write such a law or to try to misuse it to criminalize abortion and/or pregnancy.

I think we're done here. Nothing can be gained. We disagree too profoundly.

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