The woman is alive but the baby she was pregnant with is dead. They were allegedly attacked and repeatedly stabbed by the husband in their Montreal home.
As a result of the brutal attack an emergency C-section was performed but the baby died shortly thereafter.
The man faces several charges, including the attempted murder of his wife and first degree murder of the child.
Had the emergency C-section not been successful and the baby’s death occurred inside the womb, the first degree murder charge would not be possible. Under Canadian law, there would be no charge to take its place.
Theoretically, if she was stabbed one more time, the potential punishment would go from the mandatory 25 years life in prison down to a term not exceeding 14 years for aggravated assault, which does not carry a “life” sentence.
This bizarre circumstance of law dramatically changes the potential punishment. It rewards greater brutality in assaulting a pregnant woman.
Its no wonder that a baby rarely survives such an attack.
Why is it like this in Canada?
Most places in the world have some sort of “fetal homicide law” to fill in this gap. They recognize the danger it poses to women and the importance of legislation to account for such crimes.
Laws can be carefully written to consider abortion rights, and designed to only be implemented when such “non-consensual abortions” occur.
But the advocacy group Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada have fought against any such proposal, arguing they are all attempts to weaken women’s right to an abortion.
When asked by a reporter from the CBC, Joyce Arthur, president of the organization, said she has no problem with how the Criminal Code is applied to those who are charged in the killing of a baby if an attack on a pregnant woman leads to the baby’s death after it has emerged from the womb.
“I think the law is fair in that sense,” she said.
There was no comment in regard to the “sense” that isn’t fair.
Isn’t it up to the Feds, not the ARCC?
Political liability is something every elected official has to consider. When a pregnant woman is murdered the national news outlets look to Joyce Arthur and the ARCC for the final word. It is not hard to see her influence. Canadian politicians are acutely aware of it.
Any effort to address this legal gap is easily spun in the media into, as she puts it, “a backdoor attempt to smuggle in fetal personhood and make it a building block towards recriminalization of abortion.”
Because of this, certain political groups have become inclined to avoid the subject all together, and in turn, this bizarre circumstance of law that rewards greater brutality in assaulting pregnant women is allowed to continue to be a uniquely Canadian reality.
To the woman in Montreal…
The news said you could have left and gone to a shelter but I know that nobody knows what you were going through.
I am sorry to use your tragedy as an example of these terrible things.
I feel your loss immensely.