The laying of a criminal charge in the high-profile death of a London, Ont. newborn baby injured in the womb will expose the “inconsistencies” of current Canadian law that protects newborns, pro-life advocates say, while ignoring the same children if they have not yet made “the eight-inch journey down the birth canal.”
London police announced Sept. 26 the laying of a belated charge of criminal negligence for the death of newborn Rhiannon Bozek. Rhiannon died only seven days after her delivery by emergency caesarean section because of injuries suffered in her mother’s womb when the latter, Dana Bozek, was struck by Ruth Burger’s car in the entrance of a London Costco store in mid-September.
Police had already laid one count of the same offence against Burger for allegedly killing Rhiannon’s six-year-old sister Addison in the same accident, and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm for injuring the mother and a second sister, three-year-old Miah.
Police have not revealed what evidence they have for the charges, which require the accused to have engaged in activities such as drug or alcohol use that they should have known could endanger others, if, for example, they drove a motor vehicle while impaired. Controversy arose when police spokesperson Amanda Pfeffer explained they could lay no charge in Rhiannon’s death because the “the Criminal Code contains stipulations that require that a person becomes a person, essentially, when it is born from its mother in a living state.”
But the police were mistaken, says Andre Schutten, head of the Ottawa-based Association for Reformed Political Action, a Christian legal advocacy group, and “it’s good news they’ve realized it, not because its going to do anything for the prolife law but it’s going to push the consciences of Canadians to realize how Canadian law defies common sense.”
Schutten told LifeSiteNews the police were initially applying Section 223(1) of the Criminal Code, which indeed states no charges can ensue from injuries sustained by a preborn child who is not subsequently born alive. But they were ignoring Section 223(2), which just as clearly states that a charge should be laid when a child who is born alive then dies of injuries sustained in the womb due to criminal negligence.
“It’s not a new law at all,” Schutten told LifeSiteNews, nor is it new that it is being applied. “Maybe the police thought Ruth Burger had been charged enough, or maybe they didn’t want to get involved in the politics of when life begins. I have no idea why they took so long. But it’s good they laid this charge because it means the law applies to everyone.”
Michael Schouten of WeNeedaLaw.ca, a part of ARPA devoted exclusively to the life issues, told LifeSiteNews that he hoped the charge in Rhiannon’s death will encourage a debate among Canadians about the lack of any law here to protect the preborn. If Rhiannon had died of the same injuries before birth and her “eight-inch journey down the birth canal,” there would have been no charge laid. By being born, a baby “turns from nothing into someone” under current Canadian law.
This article originally appeared Sept. 29 at LifeSiteNews and is used with permission.