Husband charged in murder of pregnant wife – unborn a footnote

(This post originally appeared in the University of Toronto Students for Life blog.)

The recent murder of a pregnant Toronto woman has got MPs talking about a fetal murder law. In Canada, since the unborn has no rights and is not recognized as a person in any sense of the word, it is impossible to lay charges for the killing of the fetus.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I would bet that Criminal Code of Canada offers more significant penalties for cruelty towards animals than it does for the murder of an unborn child. Doing some quick research, it appears the the Animal Cruelty Act allows for the maximum of six months jail time and a $2000 fine.

What protection do the unborn have under the law?

The thing I find most curious about the pro-choice position is that the value and essence of the unborn seems to automagically change depending on whether the unborn child is wanted or not. How can abortion be a right, yet miscarriage be a tragedy? More importantly, how can questions of personhood and human rights be determined by a question of “wanted vs unwanted”?

MPs are stuck. Take a look at these quotes:

“To me, this is no longer a fetus, this is a human being, and as far as I’m concerned it’s a double murder — particularly when the pregnancy is that far along. This is an issue that goes right across party lines and anyone with good thinking would understand that when you take a mother’s life, and another dies as a result, the unborn, there’s a double murder.”
– Liberal MP Paul Steckle

“It seems to me that as long as we have the abortion laws we do have, I don’t know how you can criminally charge somebody, because it’s not a legally recognized person. There’s not a lot of clarity in something like that. Unless you have clarity in law and philosophy and public morality, I don’t know how you can create a criminal offence.”
– Liberal MP John McKay

Now, there is one absolutely gigantic oversight that I can’t resist pointing out in McKay’s comments. Canada has no abortion lawsnone! It’s precisely the lack of abortion laws – the abortion laws we don’t have – that make it a difficult issue to navigate. There are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada because there is absolutely no legal protection for anyone in Canada until they are born.

This is why fetal homicide talk terrifies staunch abortion advocates. It necessitates that the protection provided by personhood be pushed back before birth. Not necessarily to conception, but at least to some earlier point. Abortion advocates see this as a dangerous concession to make.

Thus, many pro-choicers are more willing to tell Aysun Sesen’s family that there was only one murder committed, when clearly, there were two.

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