Fat and Not Afraid

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Dear Dr. Lunney

March 31, 2012

Feel free to use this letter as a template for your own to your MP, Canadian friends. I borrowed it and modified it from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. Unfortunately, my MP is a member of the Conservative party and a Christian, so I have some pretty strong indications he's going to read my letter then chuck it in the garbage. Still, I have to try. For more info on Motion 3-12 and what you can do to help stop it, please visit the ARCC Action Page.

     "I'm writing to ask you to please speak out in Parliament against Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion M-312, which women in Canada have aptly named the “Women Can’t Be Trusted Motion.” It is scheduled for debate on April 26 with a vote to come later in the Spring or Fall.

I’m very disturbed that once again women’s fundamental human rights are up for debate in Parliament. This motion calls for a special parliamentary committee to examine whether the Criminal Code definition of when a child becomes a “human being” should be changed to extend legal personhood to fetuses. But if that were to happen, it would ironically remove women’s rights as full human beings, and possibly even criminalize their decision-making during pregnancy. The entire motion does not even mention women once, despite our obvious and necessary connection to fetuses. It would almost be laughable to make this omission if it weren’t so frightening.

The sole intent of this motion is to make it legally possible to re-criminalize abortion, but this is a long settled legal issue in Canada. M-312 is a waste of time and taxpayer money as the issues it raises have already been answered by Canada’s Supreme Court (including in Tremblay v. Daigle, Dobson v. Dobson, Winnipeg Child & Family Services v. Ms.G.D.F., Borowski v. Attorney General of Canada, and R. v. Morgentaler.) The law has always treated a pregnant woman, such as myself, and her fetus as one person. The courts have stated that the intimate connection between a woman and her fetus cannot be considered in isolation, and that giving rights to fetuses would impose a duty of care on a pregnant woman that would result in extensive and unacceptable intrusions into her bodily integrity, privacy, and autonomy.

Not only would fetal personhood seriously undermine the constitutional rights of women who need abortions, but also the rights of any pregnant woman. This is because it would invite the prosecution of pregnant women for any perceived harm to fetuses by creating confusion around how child welfare laws and policies apply to fetuses as legal persons. If I slip and fall while taking a shower because I didn’t have a proper non-slip surface to stand on, could I be charged with child abuse? If the fetus dies, would I be charged with manslaughter? Motion 3-12 is an open door to a terrifying place for Canadian women akin to the setting of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Canadian women must not lose their rights when they become pregnant! We cannot become second class citizens because of the contents of our uteri. We will not and cannot go back to the dark days before R v. Morgentaler. I urge you to please vote against this dangerous motion when it comes time in late spring or early fall. No-one denies that a fetus isn’t human, only that they do not warrant the same rights as those of us out of the womb. This is what the Supreme Court has ruled, but more importantly, this is the reality of women’s lives.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter from one of your constituents. I look forward to hearing back from you on this subject before the debate on April 26th.



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