Wednesday 24 February 2016

Nope. This "Preborn" Victims Law Won't Pass Either

I'm loath to get into this one again, as it drives people cuckoo-bananas, but this is my beat and this story is part of it.

Just about a year ago, we reported on the fallout from a brutal murder of a pregnant woman that also resulted in the death of her fetus.

That fallout was a petition titled "Molly Matters: Reconsider and Pass Bill C-484."

Ken Epp's private member's bill C-484, or "Unborn Victims of Crime Act," was hugely problematic, as it sought to redefine a fetus as a person for the purpose of adding another murder charge.

It was, simply, a "personhood law", and therefore unsupportable by reproductive rights proponents.

Personhood laws seek to classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as “persons,” and to grant them full legal protection under the U.S. Constitution, including the right to life from the moment of conception.

Personhood laws criminalize abortion with no exception, and also ban many forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, and health care for pregnant women. Personhood laws also increase an already dangerous trend of criminalizing pregnancy, by mandating that women who terminate a pregnancy be arrested, prosecuted, and even imprisoned because of the supposed injury done to a separate “person”—namely, the fetus. So-called fetal homicide laws are already being used in many states to arrest and prosecute women who miscarry pregnancies or are otherwise seen as “harming” the fetus.
In short, "personhood laws" do nothing to protect women or fetuses, but DO create a premise to criminalize contraception, abortion, and pregnancy itself.

Yesterday, a new private member's bill attempting to accomplish the same end as C-484 was announced. Here's the press release.

Note that the murdered woman is referred to as "Cassie" only and her full name, Cassandra Kaake, is never mentioned.

I can't find the text of the bill online yet except for this anti-choice site.

Note the language. "Unborn" from C-484 has been replaced by "preborn."

1 This Act may be cited as the Protection of Pregnant Women and Their Preborn Children Act (Cassie and Molly's Law).

2 The Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after section 238:

Definition of preborn child

238.‍1 (1) For the purposes of this section, preborn child means a child at any stage of development that has not yet become a human being within the meaning of section 223.

Beyond the language and the erasure of Ms Kaake, there are some other MASSIVE flags here.

First, the proponent of the bill is MP Cathay Waganall, who has a "perfect" anti-choice record according to Campaign Lie.

Next, the accompanying FAQ document, in trying to slither around anticipated pro-choice objections, gets into some weird territory.

Such as equating fetuses with animals and property, albeit NOT animals or property presently encased in a living person's uterus.
If the fetus is not a “human being” or “person,” then how can you create an offence for killing it?

Not being recognized as a human being under the Criminal Code does not mean that a preborn child does not deserve some protection under the law. The criminal law can be used to protect entities other than what is covered under the Criminal Code’s definition of ‘human being.’ For example, the Criminal Code has laws against animal cruelty and the unlawful killing and injury of animals (sections 444-446). It also has protections against the destruction of private property.

We at DJ! have no problem with legislation to protect pregnant women from assault, especially since it is reported that for 1 in 6 abused women, the abuse began during pregnancy.

But a vengeance-driven law focussed on the "preborn" promoted by fetus fetishists intended to be twisted to attack reproductive rights is not the way to do it.

ADDED: CBC story.

ADDED March 4/16: Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's position paper (pdf). Hint: Nope.

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