Endangers Abortion Rights

Bill C-484 Endangers Abortion Rights and Women’s Rights by Establishing Fetal Personhood: A Rebuttal to Ken Epp
By Joyce Arthur, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) www.arcc-cdac.ca, May 16, 2008:
The following is a rebuttal to Conservative MP Ken Epp's statement of May 5:
Claims that US "Fetal homicide / "unborn victims of violence" laws target
pregnant women: A Smoke-screen to attempt to discredit Bill C-484. His
statement is posted here:http://www.kenepp.com/admin/assets/USCASESE1.pdf.
Epp’s article, in turn, is a rebuttal to a paper by Lynn Paltrow, Executive
Director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) in New York,
titled: Lessons from the U.S. Experience with Unborn Victims of Violence
Laws. Her article is posted here:
http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/LessonsfromUS.pdf. This rebuttal incorporates
feedback and additional data from National Advocates for Pregnant Women, as
well as from Canadian legal experts on reproductive health law and legal
Ken Epp claims that the U.S. experience where pregnant women have been
arrested under “fetal homicide” laws does not apply to his Bill C-484. This
bill, a proposed amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada,1 would make it a
separate offence to injure or kill a fetus during a crime committed against a
pregnant woman. Epp says that the claims made by Lynn Paltrow and relied on
by myself and ARCC – that his bill can be used to police and punish pregnant
women – are “alarmist” and “without foundation.”
However, Epp does not seem to understand the possible ramifications of his
bill. In particular, he seems oblivious to the fact that his bill can be used
to establish precedent to police and punish pregnant women in other contexts
and via other laws. Epp disputes that his bill turns fetuses into human
beings or persons, but the language of his bill contradicts and negates the
current definition of “human being” under Canadian law. It essentially
establishes the fetus as a new legal entity – a person with the right not to
be killed or injured. This can endanger abortion rights, since anti-abortion
legislators and lobbyists could cite his bill as authority to introduce
restrictions on abortion, in order to protect the fetus as a new legal
To read the full article: