Monday, August 25, 2008

PMS kills C-484

Who could have believed it? Back in February, I wrote a couple of angry blog posts about Bill C-484, a draft law which was so poorly drafted that it would have raised more questions than it answered about what kind of reproductive policy we should have in Canada. Finally, some sense from the CPC as the leadership finally decided to kill C-484 and in its place introduce legislation that would make attacking a pregnant woman an aggravating circumstance in sentencing, instead of treating the death of a fetus as a separate offence.

A few other bloggers have commented. Here's my perspective. It's the right thing to do, although I feel this way for somewhat different reasons than my colleagues.

How do I square dropping C-484 with my pro-life beliefs? Simply in the fact that if we are to assign person hood to an unborn child, it should be done explicitly and not with weasel words that open up a court challenge that would, inevitably, result in the judiciary striking down the law as "void for vagueness" and sending Parliament back to the drawing board yet again. C-484 was such a weasel law in my opinion. How it got through second reading and through to committee I don't know (although some backbenchers stated they only voted "yea" at that stage because of their belief all private members bills should get a fair hearing; they were going to vote "nay" on third and final reading); but in my opinion it was a bill that should have been either tabled (i.e. struck from the order paper from further consideration) or at least seriously amended to meet Charter muster.

A wise woman once said that "Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt." We Canadians deserve clarity in our laws, not doubt. Where there is doubt about what a law really means, the law cannot be said to have validity.

I have said before, and I will say again, pregnant women are in particular need of protection for all the obvious reasons. They carry a life (or potential life, depending on one's perspective) and if the mother has decided to carry the fetus to term she should have every expectation that her person shall be free from interference.

I do find it bizarre, however, that the Cons decided to introduce their own bill rather than endorse Bill C-543, a Liberal bill that would have addressed precisely the concerns so many of us had about C-484. Guess admitting the truth about something doesn't come easily to some.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: