Three Tory MPs ask RCMP to investigate some abortions as homicides

Three Conservative members of Parliament want the RCMP to investigate any abortions performed after 19 weeks in Canada as possible homicides.

The MPs from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario make the request on House of Commons letterhead to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.

They say abortions performed at 20 weeks gestation or later breach Section 223 (2) of the Criminal Code and must be investigated as “possible murders.”

“These incidents that need investigating took place across Canada,” reads the letter, dated Jan. 23. “I look forward to your expeditious confirmation that you have commenced an investigation.”

The letter is signed by MPs Maurice Vellacott of Saskatoon-Wanuskwein, Leon Benoit of Vegreville-Wainwright and Wladyslaw Lizon of Mississauga East-Cooksville.

Officials at RCMP national headquarters in Ottawa were not immediately available for comment.

On Monday, Rona Ambrose, minister for the status of women, told the Commons that Canadians don’t want to revisit the abortion debate.

She made the comments on the 25th anniversary of a Supreme Court decision in 1988 that declared the country’s ban on abortion was a violation of women’s rights.

In their letter, the MPs wrote that between 2000 and 2009 there were 491 abortions performed on Canadian women who were pregnant for longer than 19 weeks. They contend that at this stage of gestation, the abortions involved live babies.

“These are vulnerable, innocent children that homicide has been perpetrated on,” Vellacott said Thursday from Ottawa.

“The individuals who have perpetrated the breach of the Criminal Code should be charged and brought to justice.”

Velacott said he and his two colleagues do not believe the letter will embarrass the Conservative Party or Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He said they did not share the letter with Harper’s before sending it to the RCMP.

Velacott said all members of the government are staunch supporters of the Criminal Code.

“If we have a Criminal Code that is supposed to mean anything and be of value, then you need to have the enforcement of it.”




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Three Tory MPs ask RCMP to investigate some abortions as homicides

    • Thanks for sharing the link!

      But I don’t see that this story has it wrong, they are in fact calling for some abortions to be treated as homicides based on the baby being declared a person because it is outside the womb at the time of death.

      Of course this is an attempt to try to criminalize abortions, and to get at least some abortions labelled “murders” — how could it not be as anything else? Even the information referenced in the letter comes from a pretty intense anti-abortion Blog.

      • Agreed. It’s an interesting loophole, though, and purely out of academic curiosity I’d be interested to see how the courts would handle it.

        If we are going to allow abortions, then we have to assume the risks that go with that. The intent did not change; things went wrong. When a doctor botches an abortion badly enough for the child to be born alive and then die, though, there should be an investigation of malpractice [not homicide].

        I’d put this story in the category of “proof we need an abortion law”.

        • KeithBram, I agree completely that it would be very interesting to see this go before the court system…it’s a tricky one for sure! I’m not sure I’ve completely formulated my next thoughts fully in my head, but something you said resonated strongly with me, so please bare with me!

          It’s the idea of intent.

          Our current laws identify a child as being a human being and a person after proceeding fully from the mother’s womb (in the letter anyways…). The difference you are drawing (I think) between killing a human being (homicide as we generally know it) and essentially making a mistake in an intended abortion which results in the death of a now-human is intent. In that, the intent was not to kill a human being, but rather to eradicate a fetus (not a term I use, but for the sake of argument). But because the law defines it as a human being, wouldn’t manslaughter be a more accurate term to use than malpractice, or perhaps both?

          Where I’m going with this that we’re now using subjective terms to determine a rather objective outcome. Whether the doctor assaults a woman who wants to have a baby, and the baby as a result dies after being born, or the doctor botches an abortion procedure resulting in the baby dying post-birth, a human being dies (objectively). But we’re going to determine how to administer justice (which I think the letter is calling for) regarding our most important inalienable right – life -, based on whether the intent to kill the baby was held by the mother all along, even after the baby has achieved legal status, against all odds clearly, as human being and person?

          Maybe you have an opinion that can help de-muddle my thoughts!

          • Thank you for the thoughtful reply John!

            It is all a bit of a muddle. The idea that one becomes human, legally, only by exiting the womb is an absurdity. I have argued many times on this site that we need a Primacy of Rights law that recognizes life within the womb and allow it certain protective rights against deliberate harm while allowing the mother the right to choose (i.e. where there is a conflict of rights, hers take primacy as she has proven herself to be a viable life whereas the life within has not). That’s the short version, and I’m not really looking to get into a full-blown debate on abortion today.

            As to my opinion on this particular situation: when the doctor began the procedure, he was performing a legal and legitimate procedure. If done successfully, the life would have been exterminated prior to leaving the womb. For it to suddenly become murder (or even manslaughter) because the life hadn’t quite been exterminated prior to exiting the womb is logically absurd; it is all part of one continuing procedure that began legally. The only way it could conceivably be murder is if the child survived the abortion attempt and then someone took active steps post-birth to end that life (as opposed to its dying naturally from the injuries sustained in utero).

            I can see an argument for malpractice, but if abortion is to be legal then we can’t charge medical practitioners criminally when they mess up unless there is substantial evidence of post-birth trauma and deliberate intent. This is just an attempted end run around the abortion law (or rather, lack thereof).

            As to whether abortion should be legal or not, my own stance is that, while it goes against my morals, it doesn’t for the majority and we are in a democracy. I can also understand the emotional trauma someone must go through if she is carrying a child she doesn’t want. So we should have a law that allows the woman the right to choose, but which then protects the nascent life if the choice is to go through with the pregnancy.

          • Keith, Haha – agreed. These conversations tend to be quite divisive and
            exhausting! But you do raise an interesting point, in your Primacy of
            Rights suggestion. I just foresee it being challenging to enforce this
            type of approach because what really is the difference between the
            mother who chooses to kill the baby in her womb, and the mother who
            chooses to kill her baby at two days old, if the transition from
            non-viable to viable is not a determining criterion? Does deliberate
            harm no longer become deliberate harm only when the mother chooses? I believe that mothers were given the amazing gift of childbirth, not the
            deciding power of life and death. And folks will disagree with me on that, for sure. Anyways, I digress from your original point…apologies!

            The fact that we’re even using the language “exterminating
            (life) prior to leaving the womb”, is definitely disconcerting in
            itself, but my understanding of the issue re infants born alive
            after/during intended abortions, and thus what the MPs are seeking
            investigation of, includes exactly what you mention – the deliberate
            active steps taken to finish the intended abortion post-birth, either in
            the form of gross negligence or with killing action (for lack of a
            better term). I’ve seen quite a bit of material about babies being born
            in this state and left to die on tables, buckets, trash bins, etc., or
            physical dismemberment, etc., used to kill them. Probably also not your
            intended discussion, so I’ll move along, but I do believe that active
            killing post-birth is part of the issue here seeking address.

            Thanks for your comments, Keith! Your clarity of thought and
            concise explanation have given me much to think about. Cheers, john

      • But Strepsi, I don’t think it’s fair to downplay an idea, which may have some merit on it’s own, just because we’re concerned that it may conflict with a broader idea (in this case, current abortion law). I would hope that by analyzing different components or aspects of an idea, we might better understand what exactly we are suggesting by the broader implication. Let me explain.

        I get that this letter to the RCMP is not specifically addressing the criminalization of abortion as the broader idea, but I thought an interesting point was raised, in the citing of the current criminal law. More specifically, that any injury to a child before or during it’s birth which might cause it to die after it’s birth is considered homicide. Not having any personal experience with the abortion process myself, it’s still quite hard to ignore the glaring connection between actions taken to abort a child through any of the numerous methods available while it’s still in the womb, and the subsequent death of that baby when it happens to be born alive and then dies. And this is still before any consideration is given to additional actions or inactions that might directly cause this baby to die after it has been born alive after an attempted abortion. I can go into more detail on this if you want.

        It’s an awful scenario to think through, but if I assaulted a pregnant woman and the child she was carrying sustained injuries in the womb, was later born, and then subsequently died as a result of those injuries, my understanding is that I could be charged with homicide under the criminal law.

        This is different, yes, but I think it has some has some overlapping principles with the request in the letter that do seem to be very relevant to the current criminal code. In my opinion, the fact that it conflicts with a broader principle (abortion, period) should make us think more about it, not less.

        Curious to hear your thoughts – cheers!

  1. Straight and simple:
    Kill and then extract = medical act
    Extract and then kill = homicide

    • Jim, with all due respect, I think your comment has actually demonstrated why some people are against abortion. Although, I’m sure you didn’t mean it literally…?

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