Any pro-choicers contemplating the possibility of a Harper majority should recall the odd story of Ken Epp’s aborted Bill C-484, introduced in 2008.
Entitled the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act,” this private member’s bill purported to offer legal protection to pregnant women.
Here’s Epp, with a straight face:
Bill C-484, if it were to become law, would in fact not affect the law on abortion nor would it criminalize pregnant women for any harm they may cause to their own fetuses/unborn children. C-484 is only about abortion for those abortion-rights advocates who are so extreme in their views that they cannot get past their strident ideology to feel any compassion for a woman who is such a tragic victim.
We are perhaps used to more straightforward tactics by all-or-nothing social conservatives, but the passage of this bill would have been an important step backwards. No wonder the “right-to-life” folks were pleased. (If the bill had truly not been “about abortion,” why would they have gotten involved?)
So pleased were they, in fact, that they cited a monstrous Texas decision where a teenager was convicted of capital murder for helping his girlfriend abort. This was, in their twisted logic, good encouragement for the passage of C-484.
Well, what happened to Bill C-484?
The alleged micromanager Stephen Harper allowed it to progress to second reading in the House of Commons, where it passed 147-132 and was sent to committee. An election, however, was imminent, and the national outcry had become deafening. In an astute political move, the government introduced its own rival bill, C-543, which did not grant personhood to fetuses.
Both bills died in committee.
After winning his minority in the 2008 election, Harper hastened to reassure the country: the abortion debate, he said would not be re-opened by his government.
“Throughout his political career, the prime minister has been clear on this issue,” Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, told the National Post. “We will not introduce or support legislation on abortion.”
But this weasel-wording doesn’t—and didn’t—prevent a Conservative from introducing a private member’s bill to accomplish similar aims. Bill C-484 was supported by all but four of the ruling Conservatives (and enough Liberals to get the thing through second reading).
Here’s what similar legislation in the US has already done to women there. Meet a few of the victims:
Bei Bei Shuai, in despair, tried to commit suicide by taking rat poison. She survived: the fetus, delivered by C-section, did not.
The great state of Indiana threw her in jail. She is presently facing a murder charge.
In South Carolina, Jessica Clyburn, bi-polar, epileptic, tried to kill herself by throwing herself out of a five-storey window. She survived, but miscarried. Charged with murder, she pled out to manslaughter.
22-year-old Christine Taylor of Iowa simply fell down some stairs. She, too, miscarried, and was charged with murder. She was released only after medical examiners found that the fetus had been at the second-trimester stage of development—too early for state laws to apply.
Welcome to the Republic of Gilead.
Can’t happen here? With a majority, Harper won’t need any Liberal help to re-criminalize abortion.
Think he won’t? He took abortion out of Third World maternal health aid—and was applauded by tens of thousands of “right-to-lifers” on Parliament Hill for doing so. He tried to keep the lid on a secret decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
What would stop the man who took “equality” out of the mandate of the Status of Women Canada—whose government has, in fact, taken measure after measure against women already—from implementing the full so-con agenda with a majority in place?
Why would he hold back?