Letter to Catholics Concerning Bill C-484

Wednesday, 16 April 2008
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Dear Friends of COLF,

On November 21, 2007, Conservative MP Ken Epp introduced Private Members' Bill C-484, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence). Known as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, this bill would recognize intentional assault upon an unborn child as a separate offense from assault upon the pregnant mother.

On March 5th, Bill C-484 passed its second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 147 to 132, and was sent for further study to the parliament's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

The public debate around Bill C-484 is now heating up, and some citizens are alleging that the bill threatens the "right to abortion". This is incorrect, as this bill is worded to preserve the possibility that a woman may choose an abortion, and would not grant any rights to unborn children whose mothers chose to abort them.

Bill C-484 is a welcome development because it recognizes, at least in the case of violent assault against the mother, the human dignity of the unborn child and the value of human life. If the bill is adopted, the unborn child that is hurt or killed would also be considered a crime victim, together with its mother, who had chosen to carry the child until birth.

For this reason, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) would like to encourage Catholics and all Canadians to contact their local MPs and ask them to vote in favour of Bill C-484, and to circulate the petition that Ken Epp has posted on his website (in both French and English) at: http://www.kenepp.com/issues/insidepage.asp?ID=84 This petition (whose format must not be changed, and each sheet of signatures must include the text of the petition) may be returned to the office of Ken Epp in Ottawa, postage-free.

Sincerely,
† Bishop Jean Gagnon
Chairman of the Board
Catholic Organization for Life and Family