It's Not About Abortion - Unborn Victims of Crime Act

22 February 2008

Originally posted on

Authored by past EFC employee

Bill C-484 is not about abortion. This private member’s Bill proposed by Member of Parliament Ken Epp is about choice. A woman’s choice to give birth to the child growing within her.

An interesting phenomenon has taken place during the last few decades. 

First, groups of women and men united to establish what was referred to as the “pro-choice” movement, with the stated desire that the options available for pregnant women be expanded from raising the child or giving it for adoption to include the option of legal abortion. A countervailing group of women and men established the “pro-life” movement, advocating opposition to abortion on demand.

The leaders of these movements chose to label each other with names other than those chosen by the movements themselves, thus the pro-choicers referred to their opponents as “anti-abortion” and the pro-lifers referred to their opponents as “pro-abortion.”

Over time, the positions of these groups has transitioned somewhat. In Canada, the transition in the pro-choice movement has been most noticeable in the twenty years following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R v Morgentaler.

The pro-choice movement has effectively taken on the character of the pro-abortion name with which it was, at the time, inappropriately saddled – I say “inappropriate” because it is somewhat rude to assign a name to someone else that they do not wish to be called (which also applies to the pro-choicers’ decision to call pro-lifers by another name). However, these organizations are no longer legitimately “pro-choice” because they don’t appear to present information on alternatives to abortion, as a visit to the Planned Parenthood International website, Ottawa’s local Planned Parenthood website or the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada press release on this Bill reveals. 

The current state of Canadian law allows a woman to choose between: the joys and trials of parenthood; the pleasure and struggle of giving her child to a loving family; or, the perceived benefits and potential personal harm (physical and emotional) associated with abortion. In effect, the only choice the formerly pro-choice organizations appear to now support is the decision to have an abortion.

But Bill C-484 is not about abortion. It’s about the choice a woman makes when she decides to give birth to the child within her, whether to raise that child herself or lovingly give the child to adoptive parents. No one has the right to take that decision away from her. 

Bill C-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, is about protecting the choice of the expectant mother. It has been carefully drafted to not impact on her option to pursue an abortion, which in Canada is legally available for an unrestricted period up to the time of birth, or decisions the mother might make that could be considered unhealthy for the child within. This proposal is about protecting the expectant mother from the attack of another.

Bill C-484 is a compassionate response to help prevent, or at minimum subsequently punish, an impassionate violent attack against an expectant mother when the attacker knows or ought to know the attack could cause harm to the child for whom that mother has chosen to give life.

The efforts of the formerly “pro-choice” groups to prevent passage of this legislation are illogical. They surmise that Bill C-484 will create legal rights for the unborn so that abortion can be re-criminalized. This position is based on an irrational fear that points to the individuals and organizations expressing it as speaking from a pro-abortion rather than pro-choice motivation.

In a nation that has improved its laws and procedures in an effort to prevent domestic violence and protect the vulnerable – only in Canada do initial allegations of spousal or child abuse result in immediate protective measures being put in place even prior to those allegations being proven in court or substantiated by investigation – the next logical step is extending protection to a pregnant woman in such a way as to reduce the risk of violence against her and her child of choice.

Bill C-484 is not about abortion. It’s about a choice that should be respected by all.

The Prime Minister has recognized that, leaving consideration of the Bill to a free vote – free choice – in the House of Commons.

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