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Conservative leadership scuttles Bill C-484.

The Conservative government must have gotten spooked at all the public opposition coming over Bill C-484, because suddenly Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has announced the Conservative government is going to basically abandon Ken Epp’s private members bill – The Unborn Victims of Violence Act – with its own government-sponsored bill, that will have no mention of fetal rights in it:

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced Monday that the government will draft a new bill to replace Bill C-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, so that it closes the debate about fetal rights and focuses instead on penalizing criminals who harm pregnant women…”We’ve heard criticism from across the country, including representatives of the medical community, that Mr. Epp’s bill as presently drafted could be interpreted as instilling fetal rights. Let me be clear. Our government will not reopen the debate on abortion,” Mr. Nicholson said. “For this reason … I’m announcing that the government will introduce legislation that will punish criminals who commit violence against pregnant women but do so in a way that leaves no room for the introduction of fetal rights.

More signs of an election perhaps that the governing Conservatives are trying to remove anything that looks remotely controversial. I don’t think it would be a big stretch to say part of this was initiated by Stephane Dion challenging Harper last week to make clear his views on abortion after publicly opposing Bill C-484 at Garth Turner’s town hall. We saw some rather perturbed Conservative supporters reaction, both on the blogs and on the radio talk shows.

The coup-de-gras was probably administered when the Canadian Medical Association came out and publicly opposed it.. but I think some credit has to be given to Dion for his very public call-out of Harper on what his position on abortion was for helping to start the momentum rolling on helping to get this bill scuttled.

As an aside, I’m sure the social conservatives and the religious right must be ticked with the Cons. letting them down. I’d advise them there’s always the Christian Heritage Party, or Family Coalition Party to go and vote for.


5 comments to Conservative leadership scuttles Bill C-484.

  • wilson

    As I interpret what the media reports say, the legislation will instruct the judges on sentencing.
    So I’m thinking that the penalty for the death of an unborn child due to the crime, could hold an ‘additional’ sentence of time, such as that given for manslaughter.
    I guess you missed my point Gayle.

  • Gayle

    You miss my point.

    I have yet to hear of a judge who did not take the fact the victim was pregnant into consideration in sentencing. They don’t need politicians to tell them a pregnant victim is an aggravating factor.

    Some things are just obvious.

  • wilson

    Apparently not Gayle.
    On the books: spousal abuse, violence against people under 18, and if the crime is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation
    Annoucned today to be a future consideration of sentencing: women pregnant

  • Gayle

    I assure you it has always been a factor in sentencing. This is just window dressing.

  • wilson

    ”Mr. Nicholson said the new bill will expand the list of aggravating factors to be considered by a sentencing judge to include the fact of a women’s pregnancy.”

    Huh, I can’t believe that a women being pregnant was NOT ‘a consideration’ in sentencing up until now.

    ” Other aggravating factors currently on the books include spousal abuse, violence against people under 18, and if the crime is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or other similar factor.”

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