Tuesday, March 04, 2008

2-minute action for reproductive freedom

Tomorrow, the House of Commons will vote on Conservative MP Ken Epps “Unborn Victims of Crime Act." The bill is problematic to say the least … it would effectively confer legal status on fetuses, violating pregnant women’s rights in the process. It’s the kind of legislation that the religious right has successfully passed in the U.S., leading to arrests of pregnant women for actions that are not considered criminal for anyone else. It also does nothing to address the real pressing concern for pregnant women: domestic violence.

For an excellent analysis of why the bill is problematic, check out Joyce Arthur's recent editorial in the National Post.

I think this tidbit really sums it up:

Under state "fetal homicide" laws pregnant women are more likely to be punished for behaviours and conditions that are not criminalized for other people, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Women have also been charged or jailed for murder for experiencing a stillbirth after refusing a Caesarean section. Some states have proposed punishing pregnant women in abusive relationships who are unable to leave their batterers, and desperate women who resort to unsafe self-abortions. The worst offender is South Carolina, where dozens of pregnant women with drug abuse problems have been arrested under fetal protection laws, even though they had virtually no access to drug treatment programs.
Usually private members’ bills have no chance of passing, but apparently only the NDP and the Bloc have agreed to whip their caucuses to vote against this measure.

You can click here to send a message to Stephane Dion, urging him to impose some party discipline, and make sure that this frightening initiative fails.

For more analysis on why this bill is terrifying, check out what Vicky Smallman and Andrea Zanin have to say.

And also, check out the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's talking points on Bill C-484.

Take action now!

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