TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2007 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today expressed its support for federal legislation to recognize unborn children as second victims in cases where their mothers are murdered while pregnant.
The “Unborn Victims of Violence” (C-291) act was introduced during the last session of Parliament by MP Leon Benoit as a private members’ bill, but was deemed non-votable by a parliamentary sub-committee. Laws recognizing unborn victims of violence exist in the United States. A current poll found almost three-quarters of Canadians would support such a law.
“We need legislation to recognize that there are two victims when a pregnant woman is murdered,” says League President Philip Horgan. “It would recognize the need for greater protection for women as well as for their unborn children.”
* Media reports state that the family of Toronto homicide victim Aysun Sesen are seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Harper to introduce new legislation so that their daughter’s unborn child, who was at seven months’ gestation at the time of the murder Oct. 2, would be recognized as a human being and hence a second victim of the crime.
*One of the murder cases that prompted Mr. Benoit’s bill, that of Olivia Talbot of Alberta in 2005, led to numerous references in court that the pregnancy was a major factor in the violence in the relationship.
*In a separate case reported today, a 17-year old youth accused in the murder of Roxanne Fernando in Winnipeg in February, said he committed the crime because she refused to have an abortion.
About CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information:
Joanne McGarry
Executive Director
Catholic Civil Rights League