Yesterday I looked at Bill C-510, Rod Bruinooge’s (C, Winnipeg South) private member’s bill to outlaw coerced abortion and having talked to people on the political and legal end of things, the bill seems solidly written. Some anti-abortion bills — and Bill C-510 is not about abortion itself but whether women should feel coerced into having one — concede too much by acknowledging a “right” to abortion and this does no such thing. Kudos to Bruinooge for getting the right language in the bill. I think the nod to the health and life of the mother seems a little out of place, but that is standard boilerplate for any law that touches, however mildly, on abortion.
I’m not sure if C-510 (An Act to Prevent the Coercion of Women to Abortion or Roxanne’s Law) will save lives, as Bruinooge suggests. Roxanne Fernando was murdered by her boyfriend and his friends and I doubt that anyone who would kill another human being in cold blood is going to be deterred by a law that prevent coercion to have an abortion. But it does punish acts of coercion after the fact and that would be a good thing. I have lots of questions about enforcement — is a woman who feels pressured by a partner or parent to abort a child likely to go to police to file a complaint? — but Bruinooge’s initiative to raise abortion-related issues is to be applauded.
The main benefit of Bill C-510 will be on the public’s perception of the participants on both sides of the abortion debate as it will expose the so-called pro-choice side as pro-abortion because they have come out against the proposed law using dubious arguments about it being used to prevent health care workers from providing legal abortion. As I asked yesterday, how is one both pro-choice and anti-anti coercion?
I am dismayed that the Prime Minister’s Office is saying the government won’t support the legislation. I get that Stephen Harper doesn’t want to re-open the abortion debate but 1) C-510 is really about abortion but rather about women to be free of coercion, 2) it isn’t the government but an individual MP who is raising the issue, and 3) while the government may not want to re-open debate about abortion, what is wrong with responding once it has been re-opened?