Stephen Harper’s government has abandoned a private member’s bill, Bill C-484, that the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has been organizing against – with the support of CUPE – since it surfaced last year.
The private members bill put forward by Conservative Edmonton MP Ken Epp intended to create a separate offence for killing a foetus when a pregnant woman is murdered. It would have given an unborn foetus some human rights in these cases, which was of great concern to the pro-choice movement.
Activists felt that proposed law was not concerned with the roots of violence against women and will only take way women’s rights. Similar laws have been passed in the U.S. resulting in dozens of women being punished for trying to “harm their child”. CUPE members across the country attended protests against this bill, with more rallies having been planned for next month. The Canadian Medical Association denounced the bill at their recent meeting, stating that it left doctors who performed abortions vulnerable to prosecution.
While we celebrate this victory, we will continue to keep an eye on Harper’s government for further attempts to chip away at reproductive rights in Canada.