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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.”The piece ends with another obligatory whining flourish.
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.
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.