Program Info:Return

(Aaron Lakoff)

New bill raises worries over access to abortion in Canada

Length: 0:04:27
Uploaded: 9 Jun, 2008

Recording Date: 9 Jun, 2008
Recording Location: Montreal
Logsheet: none
Language: English
Topical for: 2 Months
Status: Complete, Ready to Air
Copyright: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.

Program Title: New bill raises worries over access to abortion in Canada
Description: Script:

On June 1st, over 1000 people marched in Montreal to protest bill c-484, a proposed piece of legislation otherwise known as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act. The bill, which was introduced as a private-members bill by Conservative MP Ken Epp from Edmonton, proposes to change the criminal code of Canada by making an attack against a foetus a separate offence on top of assaulting or killing a pregnant woman. Pro-choice activists are fiercely contesting the bill, stating that it could put access to abortions in the country at risk. They say that by granting a legal status to the foetus, bill c-484 could open the doors to eventually criminalizing the act of abortion itself.

However, Epp says that these criticisms are unfounded, as the bill specifically omits abortion.

[clip, Ken Epp]

Opponents of the bill have also claimed that violence against women is a serious matter, regardless of whether one is pregnant or not. But Marie-Christine Houle of Women for Women’s health, a group who is campaigning in favour of bill c-484, disagrees. She explains why there should be a separate crime for acts of violence against a foetus.

[clip, Marie-Christine Houle]

Claude-Catherine Lemoine, one of the organizers of the demonstration in Montreal, draws on similar laws that were passed in the USA to illustrate why she sees bill c-484 as dangerous to women’s rights.

[clip, Claude-Catherine Lemoine]

The organizers of the demonstration in Montreal chose the historically significant starting point at the corner St-Laurent and St-Joseph street, near the Morgentaler clinic. Dr Henry Morgentaler became a well-known figure in Canadian history after serving jail time for performing over 5000 abortions at his Montreal clinic. His case later went to the Supreme Court, and as a result, abortions have been decriminalized in Canada since 1983.

Bill C-484 was introduced in November 2007 and has already been through 2 readings in the House of Commons, and there is currently no date set for the final vote. Feminist and pro-choice groups are pledging to continue resisting the proposed bill, proclaiming that they will not allow the hard-fought rights of women to be rescinded.

For groundwire, this is CKUT radio’s Aaron Lakoff reporting from Montreal.

Host(s): Groundwire
Featured Speakers/Guests:

Credits: Produced by Aaron Lakoff

aaron (at)

Comments: Lead script should read:

"A new bill is in front of the House of Commons which has many feminist organizations worrying about the future of access to abortion in Canada. CKUT's Aaron Lakoff has the story from Montreal."

Type: News Reports

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