Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ottawa: Rally Against Unborn Victims of Crime Bill

Over a hundred people met today in front of the Women's Monument in order to denounce the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill. Bill C-484 is a private members bill introduced by a Conservative Party MP. It passed the house of commons overwhelmingly in its first reading. The bill is created to pass extra sentencing on violent offenders who attacked pregnant women and cause problems or even death to the fetus.

At first glance of the bill most people would be favourable towards the bill. However, a better understanding of Canadian Law and looking more closely of the content of the bill may change that. Canadian Law already has provisions in the Criminal Code for pregnancy or spousal abuse to be aggravating factors leading to harsher sentences. The bill would however, give fetuses legal rights.

Many pro-choice advocates worry that to give the fetus legal rights would lead to the erosion of the legality of abortion. Abortion has only been legal in Canada for 20 years, it was made legal thanks to the work of Henry Morgentaler. Despite it being legal it is not very accessible with on 15% of Hospitals and a minority of clinics that do. All of these Hospitals and clinics are in urban centers and, one province P.E.I. has no where that abortion is available.

The speakers at the rally brought up that no one is happy about having abortions and, that it is unfortunate that women have to go through them. However, they said being pro-choice means that women actually have choices. These choices stemmed from a need for proper sex education, proper health care, proper child care and, a need for real pay equity. They condemned the current government as having not done any of these things nor, protected the rights of women to be free of violence.

The crowd included the Pro-Choice Coalition of Ottawa, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, University of Ottawa Women's Center, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Ottawa-Center NDP MP Paul Dewar, Ottawa West-Nepean NDP candidate Marlene Rivier, multiple violence against women campaigns, The Raging Grannies and, more. The event was closed off by a rendition of Bread and Roses and a moment of silence while everyone stood in a circle around the Womens Monument. It was supposed to take the street afterwards, but the rally was denied a police permit "due to the nature of the protest."

Note images are my property. First was drawn on the path in Minto Park. Second is of one of the many speakers at the back of the crowd is Paul Dewar and Marlene Rivier of the NDP. Third was part of the circle of the closing, rocks shown are the side of the women's monument

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2 Comments:

Blogger rww said...

"It passed the house of commons overwhelmingly in its first reading."

First reading is automatic, there is no vote. It is simply a [procedure to get the bill printed.

the bill died at dissolution of the Parliament.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

I meant to say first vote. And you are correct it did die at the dissolution of Parliament. I think the organizers were trying to convey the importance of the election as the bill might be rehashed in another form.

8:59 PM  

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