Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Little More Insight Into Harper's "Base"

Rod Bruinooge has tabled bill C-510 to criminalize someone for attempting to "coerce" a woman into having an abortion:

264.2 (1) Every one who coerces a female person to procure or attempt to procure an abortion for herself is guilty of


(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or


(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

264.2 (1) Quiconque contraint une personne du sexe féminin qui est enceinte à se procurer ou à tenter de se procurer un avortement est coupable :

Contraindre à avorter

a) soit d’un acte criminel passible d’un emprisonnement maximal de cinq ans;


b) soit d’une infraction punissable sur déclaration de culpabilité par procédure sommaire et passible d’un emprisonnement maximal de dix-huit mois.



Attempted coercion


(2) Every one who attempts to coerce a female person to procure an abortion for herself is guilty of


(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or


(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.


Then there's the definition of "coercion" that's written into this little bit of legislative stupidity - it's a definition which could easily be twisted by the wingnuts to mean that anyone who counsels abortion as an option to a pregnant woman could be held culpable:

“coercion”, in respect of an abortion, means conduct that, directly or indirectly, causes a female person to consent to an abortion that she would otherwise have refused. A person coerces an abortion if he or she knows of or suspects the pregnancy of a female person and engages, or conspires with another to engage in, conduct that is intentionally and purposely aimed at directing the female person who has not chosen to have an abortion to have an abortion, including but not limited to the following conduct:


(a) committing, attempting to commit, or threatening to commit physical harm to the female person, the child or another person;


(b) committing, attempting to commit or threatening to commit any act prohibited by any provincial or federal law;


(c) denying or removing, or making a threat to deny or remove, financial support or housing from a person who is financially dependent on the person engaging in the conduct; and


(d) attempting to compel by pressure or intimidation including argumentative and rancorous badgering or importunity;


but does not include speech that is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Practically speaking, this is utterly unnecessary legislation. We already have legislation to deal with people making criminal threats, or assaulting others regardless of gender.

This little bit of legislative chicanery is based on the false assumption that women are routinely coerced into having an abortion. This is demeaning to women simply on the presumption that they don't make these decisions themselves. Bruinooge thinks far too highly of himself and his male brethren - it seems to me that the coercion is coming from them - trying to make it as hard as possible for women to access health care related to their fertility.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ithink the bill is a GREAT IDEA..... only it needs a small amendment that would make it a crime to pressure a woman about any abortion decision. The Liberals could easily propose the amendment and get it passes. That way, the church freaks, the the AntiAbortion loonies could be charged, thown into the Remand centre, and get free room and board on the taxpayer's tab.

Yup... GREAT IDEA