It is not rare that when violent crimes are committed against a pregnant woman, they are also committed against the child in the womb. Sometimes the child in the womb is specifically targeted with slashes, bruising from blows and other violent acts to her abdomen, if not death.
Again, this is common ground that pro-lifers can share with those who are not pro-life. If pro-choice Canadians are truly pro-choice, they should also be supporting and defending a woman’s choice to carry her child to term without harm.
Currently, no law exists to charge the assailant with additional charges for causing harm to the child in the womb. According to a Nanos poll released in 2016, 70% of Canadians (including 75% of women) wanted to see this type of legislation passed.
An unborn victims of crime act would help both to protect women and their children in the womb.
An overwhelming number of Canadians believe that abortion should be illegal after 24 weeks gestation (the second trimester). While many people who are not pro-life will claim that abortions do not occur after the third trimester, according to recent data compiled by the CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) approximately 2% of all abortions procured in Canada in 2009 were in the later portion of or past the second trimester.
This means that around 2,000 children are aborted every year in Canada in later gestational ages. While it is ideal to get a complete ban on abortion legally, a late-term abortion ban can be achieved a lot quicker because according to a recent Environics poll, 72% of Canadians disagree with late-term abortion.
Without giving up the fight for the protection for all children in the womb from conception onward, we can find common ground with a great majority of Canadians and get protections for at least 2,000 babies every single year.
The Criminal Code of Canada governs why people can be incarcerated in Canada. Unfortunately, the Criminal Code section for abortion was struck down by the Supreme Court in R. v. Morgentaler in 1988. In the concurrence of the majority opinion written by Justice Beetz and joined by Justice Estey, he stated:
I believe that Parliament is justified in requiring what is no doubt an extraordinary medical practice in its regulation of the criminal law of abortion in accordance with the various interests at stake.
-R. v. Morgentaler 1988 decision (page 112)
What many people don’t realize is that the Supreme Court of Canada requested that the Parliament of Canada create a law that would govern the regulation of abortion evenly across the country.
The main reason for the failure of the 1969 abortion law is that it was not applied evenly across the country. An amendment to the criminal code that criminalizes abortion in all trimesters evenly across the country would therefore be constitutional in accordance with the opinions written by the justices who delivered the majority decision in R v. Morgentaler.