Epp responds to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada’s false claims about Bill C-484



August 20, 2008

Ken Epp, MP (Edmonton – Sherwood Park) For Immediate Release – August 20, 2008

Says ARCC’s misrepresentation of the law is ‘deeply worrying’; asks how a ‘women’s rights’ group can deny a violated woman basic human compassion and justice

(Ottawa) – MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park, Ken Epp, released today a report responding to false claims made by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada in an article by ARCC Coordinator Joyce Arthur entitled “Bill C-484 Endangers Abortion Rights and Women’s Rights by Establishing Fetal Personhood.”

“The most deeply worrying aspect of what Ms. Arthur and her co-advocates against Bill C-484 are doing in flooding the public square with such articles is that the public and Members of Parliament, who have an especially important role to play in this debate, might not realize the serious errors of law in Ms. Arthur’s arguments,” said Epp. “As a result, they could act on the basis of false information about the law and about the assumed legal impact of Bill C-484.”

Epp continued, “The ‘rule-of-law’ is the cornerstone of democracy. Consequently, respect for the law, in terms of not intentionally misrepresenting it, is one of the most fundamental values on which we establish Canadian society. It would be profoundly worrying if the law were to become a puppet of a particular ideology and used with reckless abandon with respect to the accuracy of its content. It is even more disturbing if elected Members of Parliament unwittingly promote these inaccuracies and cast their vote based on them.”

“Bill C-484 does not make the fetus a ‘person’ as ARCC claims,” Epp said. “It does recognize the existence of the fetus, as a number of presently existing laws already do, including the Criminal Code and tort law. Importantly, Bill C-484, if it were to become law, would in fact not affect the law on abortion nor would it criminalize pregnant women for any harm they may cause to their own fetuses/unborn children. C-484 is only about abortion for those abortion-rights advocates who are so extreme in their views that they cannot get past their strident ideology to feel any compassion for a woman who is such a tragic victim, said Epp.

Epp noted in his report that not all lawyers who support abortion rights believe “unborn victims of violence” laws, as they are described in the US, should be opposed. In fact, opposing such laws could reflect badly on ‘pro-choicers.’ In his report, Mr. Epp quotes Carolyn B. Ramsey, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Colorado School of Law, who wrote in a 2006 article which appeared in the Ohio State Law Journal that:

    …an absolutist reaction that denies everything the statutes assert – that a fetus constitutes a human life; that killing it is, in some contexts, criminally wrong; and that the murder of a pregnant woman and the resultant death of her fetus amount to two losses, rather than one – risks corroborating, in the public mind, the allegation that pro-choicers espouse an extreme, anti-life position. Moreover, this approach impedes holding wrongdoers, such as abusive spouses, accountable for their actions.”

Epp continued, “Ms. Ramsey goes on to say that the view that the unborn child is seen as a murder victim by the surviving family members is no less legitimate than the opposite view that ‘a murder could not occur until the baby was born alive.’ ”

Epp added, “Ms. Arthur and ARCC claim to be the great defenders of women’s rights, and yet by opposing Bill C-484 they are robbing women of the added protection, in criminal law, of bringing their children safely into the world. They are denying justice to the woman who has been victimized by a brutal crime, one which has violently taken her yet-to-be-born but very much wanted child from her womb. How can Ms. Arthur and ARCC claim to speak for women when they work so hard to rob such a violated woman of basic human compassion and justice?”

Epp concluded, “the majority of Canadians, including the majority of Canadian women across the country, as demonstrated by three national polls, support this legislation. They see the Bill for what it really is: a sincere effort to support women who make the choice to bring their wanted child into the world in safety.”

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Ken Epp’s full report, entitled “The truth about Bill C-484: A compassionate and constitutionally valid remedy to current injustice in Canadian criminal law” will be posted later today at (also attached to this email)

For More Information, contact

Ken Epp, (613) 995-3611 or (780) 467-4944;

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