Seventy-two percent of Canadians polled in an Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada/VieCanada say they would support legislation making it a separate crime to injure or kill a fetus during an attack on the mother. Among women, 75% supported the legislation.
The Focus Canada poll of 2,047 Canadians was conducted between September 17 and October 14, with a margin of error of ±2.2% nineteen times out of twenty.
There have been five pregnant women murdered in Canada in the past three years, the most recent being Aysun Sesen, 25, of Toronto. She and her seven-month fetus died after she was stabbed in the abdomen. Her husband has been charged with second-degree murder. However, under Canadian law the fetus is not recognized as a human being until it is born so police cannot charge perpetrators with murder of the unborn baby.
Families of the women have repeatedly called for legislation to recognize the crime committed when the fetus is murdered or injured. Yesterday the family of Aysun Sesen reiterated that demand. Aydin Cocelli, Ms. Sesen’s brother-in-law, said he has requested a meeting with Prime Minister Harper to ask for a change in the law.
“Almost three-quarters of Canadians want a law to protect these babies,” said LifeCanada President Joanne Byfield. “They recognize that the fetus is a human being no matter what the law says and they see it as an injustice that someone can kill these babies with impunity while attacking the mother.”
Byfield noted that an earlier law which declared women were not “persons” for the purpose of being appointed to the Senate was overturned in October 1929. “The law can be wrong. It was found to be so in the Persons case and it is in this case too,” she said. “It is incumbent on the government and the people of Canada to correct this injustice.”
* Life Canada Press Release, Oct. 19, 2007
For more information, contact Joanne Byfield, 780-445-0344 or Gudrun Schultz 613-722-1552.