Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Body, One Person, One Count

The Conservatives are attempting deception. They are attempting to introduce via the back door a bill to grant a fetus the rights of a person. They are taking the first steps to allow the state to control your body.

This is not just about a woman's right to choose. If the so-cons and their Conservative Party of Canada allies open the door to placing the "life" of a fetus above the right of a woman to control her bodily integrity, they are setting a dangerous precedent. They can then decide anyone's life is more important than your bodily integrity and your life. The implications of this are far more horrible and horrendous than abortions - it means that your or I, men or women, could become unwilling organ donors or medical guinea pigs, so long as "the right to life" of another (more worthy) person is at stake.

This must be fought in no uncertain terms.

My friends at Birth Pangs want you to write to Stephane Dion to tell him to whip his caucus to defeat this bill on March 5. If you are so inclined please join this campaign and the blogburst starting on February 25th.

I will do that, but I will also send the message loud and clear to these people:

The gloves are off.

Bad enough that they want to punish a woman for daring to have sex, any attempt to remove the total right to personal bodily integrity in any circumstance will be fought. If this bill somehow passes into law, it will be ignored. Any other law resulting from it will be ignored.

You can try and pass all of the laws you want, but they will be ignored. You cannot control another person, you do not own anyone else. You cannot rule us.

There are thousands, if not millions, of people who will not stand by and be subjected to your pompous, moralizing, holier-than-thou authoritarianism.

I, personally, will ensure that all peaceful means of resistance to this are used - protest, tax revolts, any form of civil disobedience.

I would like to propose to all those that support security of the person and a woman's right to choose vow, as I am today, that if this bill passes on March 5th, that we stop paying taxes. If they won't listen to reason, they must be deprived of the ability to work.

This must be stopped at all costs.

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At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mike.

And lots of hugs and kisses.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger JJ said...

Woohoo! That was inspiring! Thanks, Sarge;

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Well said!

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Ron said...

I'd have to take a look at the wording of the bill.

There is a way to increase the penalty in the cases of murdered or grievously injured mothers-to-be that would actually strengthen the reproductive rights of women, and that would need make no reference to the fetus as a separate entity except as evidence of the mother's right and choice at that time to carry the fetus.

This would merely take wording for involuntarily interrupting a pregnancy similar to that which increases the penalty for any crime where a firearm is brandished, or where a policeman/prison guard is killed.

It's a separate question whether the penalty should be increased, but what I suggest would be a way to do so without trampling on female reproductive rights.

At 11:02 PM, Blogger Mike said...


Its the creation of a separate offense. That is, if I kill my pregnant wife, I can be charged with two counts of murder, not one. Or, if I guy kicks a pregnant woman causing a miscarriage, he gets a charge of assault AND a charge of murder. It is not simply adding codified aggravating factors to existing offenses or sentencing guidelines.

Currently, under the criminal law, the victim being a pregnant woman can change the charge from assault to aggravated assault. And argument could be made (via case law and precedent setting, not new legislation) that such an assault would be one that caused grievous bodily harm to the mother. It would also be an aggravating factor in sentencing - the difference between 10 years without the possibility parole and 20 years without possibility of parole. It could be used as a factor in a dangerous offender hearing, allowing for indefinite detention.

As well, Canada does not have, nor never has had, the concept of consecutive sentences as the US has. So anyone convicted would serve the same amount of time concurrently, whether it was 1 murder or two. The charges would be redundant. In order to prove the "Unborn" case, beyond a reasonable doubt, you must have already proved the crime against the mother - it is simply not physically possible to prove.

All that to say, this bill is not needed as stiffer penalties are already available under current law. It will not do what it says is its purpose - to protect women who choose to be pregnant - because it offers no extra time and a crime that cannot be proved unless another crime is proved.

I see it as diminishing the protections of the woman, not increasing it - something that today would be considered grievous bodily harm, would be simple assault with this law passed, because the mother is no longer the focus.

And, in order for a charge of murder to be leveled, the fetus must legally be a person, either explicitly or implicitly. And if a fetus is a person for this charge, case law says that it must also be legally a person for the sake of other charges. That is the subterfuge. That is the slippery slope. Once declared a person, all sorts of other charges can be brought. The door is open and the state has set up shop in every uterus in the country.

Have a look over at JJ's place for the text.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger Ron said...

Understood. Email to Dion is in the ether, Mike.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone canvassed pregnant women on this bill?

I'm assuming there should be no right of action accruing to anyone who, prior to becoming a person at the precise moment their head emerged from their mother's loins, was injured by a doctor's negligence.(Or does personhood have to wait for the last toe to spring free? Ah well, a question for another day, perhaps.)

Sure they'll suffer now, having been rather dubiously inaugurated into a personhood of pain, deformity or lifelong disability, but they didn't legally exist at the time the damage was inflicted. How can the doctor be responsible for the baby's pain and suffering as a human being? He could not have harmed the human in whose name the suit is brought, because the human was not in existence at the moment of the alleged wrong. Doctor's insurers are going to love this.

There could be tricky cases where a quick thinking mom manages to give birth with all haste before the doctor is done being incompetent.

Very interesting stuff.

Occam's Carbuncle

At 3:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mind if I flip flop on this one?

I think that there should be a right to choose, but as far as the "extra" murder charge, I don't have a problem with that either PROVIDED they can prove the murderer KNEW the woman was pregnant.

The catch 22 is of course your recognising the life of the fetus in one case, but not the other......

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Charles Anthony said...

The main problem that I have with this law is that it is redundant. An assault on a pregnant women can be handled in civil court.
If a woman wants to sue her assailant for civil damages, she can do so. She can explain to a judge that the death of her unborn child has created severe hardship and demand compensation.
[Having said that, from a true libertarian perspective, practically every "crime" could be handled in civil court too but that is a different story.]

Nevertheless, in a practical sense, I do not believe this proposed law grants a fetus any rights at all. This law just changes the penalty for assaulting a pregnant woman depending on how the assault affects her fetus.

Let me suggest the following analogy:
We could propose a law for assaulting a pregnant woman that increases the penalty if the woman suffers mental distress. Such a hypothetical law does not grant rights to her mental state of mind. It just considers the over-all damage created by the assault.

Furthermore, at the end of this proposed law it states quite clearly:
(7) For greater certainty, this section does not apply in respect of
(a) conduct relating to the lawful termination of the pregnancy of the mother of the child to which the mother has consented;
(b) an act or omission that a person acting in good faith considers necessary to preserve the life of the mother of the child or the life of the child; or
(c) an act or omission by the mother of the child.

I do not think it is wise to call this proposed law "anti-choice" as some people insist.

"he gets a charge of assault AND a charge of murder. It is not simply adding codified aggravating factors to existing offenses or sentencing guidelines."
Mike, I believe you are mistaken.
The law does not say anything about charging the assailant with murder. It just says that he is "indictable of a criminal offense" and the proposal is that the penalty be pretty much the same as that for murder. I realize this is just riding on a technicality but many different crimes share the same penalties.


This law might treat the assault a little more rationally than current law because the fetus is the woman's property. The assault affects her body and some of her extra property.


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