OTTAWA, Jan. 31, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is opposing a call by three MPs for the RCMP to investigate StatsCan data that reported that 491 babies were left to die after they were born alive following failed abortions.
Responding in the House of Commons Thursday to questions on the pro-life MPs’ open letter, Harper insisted simply that “abortion is legal in Canada.”
“Is this government’s support for abortion so strong that they’re now going to turn a blind eye to documented cases that suggest infanticide?” responded Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.
Many reports in the mainstream media Thursday have twisted the MPs’ letter, written Jan. 23rd to the RCMP Commissioner, as a call for late-term abortions to be investigated as homicides. But the crux of the MPs’ concern is that the babies died, not during abortion, but after they were born alive and thus recognized as persons under Canadian law.
The Opposition New Democrats took the media’s lead during Question Period on Thursday.
“These conservatives are trying to get the RCMP to investigate abortions as murder,” said Megan Leslie, the party’s deputy leader. “Will the Prime Minister make it clear that he and his government understand that abortion is not murder?”
In reply, Prime Minister Harper said: “All members of this House, whether they agree with it or not, understand that abortion is legal in Canada and this government, myself included, have made it very clear that the government does not intend to change the law in this regard.”
Though the Prime Minister was responding to Leslie’s framing of the issue as a concern about abortion rather than infanticide, the same cannot be said for a reply given to LifeSiteNews Thursday by the office of Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson.
LifeSiteNews sent a question to Nicholson spokeswoman Julie Di Mambro on Thursday morning about the MPs’ call for an investigation, making clear that the MPs’ concern is about babies “born alive” after failed abortions.
Di Mambro responded in the afternoon with the same quote from Harper insisting that “abortion is legal in Canada.”
“The Prime Minister addressed this issue today during Question Period,” she said.
LifeSiteNews replied to Di Mambro spelling out that the concern is specifically about infanticide rather than abortion, but she has not yet responded.
“We’ve warned all along that abortion opens the door to infanticide because there’s no substantial difference between the child before birth and the child after birth,” said Hughes. “This is the very argument offered by infanticide advocates like Peter Singer.”
“First we have a judge in Alberta letting a woman walk free after strangling her newborn because abortion’s legal,” Hughes continued. “And now our Conservative federal government won’t investigate infanticide because ‘abortion is legal’?”
“Could it be that we’re witnessing our country’s descent into acceptance of infanticide before our very eyes?” he asked.
The StatsCan data was found in October by pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney in the federal agency’s online database. The data, confirmed with StatsCan by LifeSiteNews in November, indicates that between 2000 and 2009 there were 491 babies in Canada who died after they were born alive following failed abortions.
The 491 deaths reported to StatsCan are listed in CANSIM table 102-0536, under code P96.4, which is titled “Termination of pregnancy, affecting fetus and newborn.”
In an e-mail to LifeSiteNews in November, StatsCan’s Owen Phillips explained that this code indicates the cause of the born child’s death was an abortion. He said these are not stillbirths, which have a different table.
The case sparked outrage across Canada and beyond, though it was ignored by mainstream media until today.
Pro-life activists have long known that babies are often born alive and then left to die after failed abortions, but did not know how frequently this occurred in Canada.
Jill Stanek, a former nurse in Chicago turned pro-life blogger, has described witnessing babies being born alive after failed abortions, then being brought to a “soiled utility room” and left to die. Her testimony sparked the state’s Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
“My experience was that they [the babies] survive as short as a few minutes, to once, almost as long as an eight hour shift,” she said in 2008.
In one instance, she said she heard that a child was being left, and she “couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone.” “And so I cradled and rocked him for the forty-five minutes that he lived.”
In another grisly case, abortionist Kermit Gosnell was arrested in 2011 after allegedly slitting the spinal chords of hundreds of newborn babies who were born alive in the process of an attempted abortion.
The three MPs who wrote to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson were Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskwein), Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright), and Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga East-Cooksville).
“These incidents appear to be homicides. Therefore a thorough police investigation is required, and I am formally requesting you to pursue that,” they wrote.
The MPs note that Section 223(2) of the Criminal Code recognizes a child’s legal rights “after proceeding fully from the mother’s womb.” So, they say, “there should be 491 homicide investigations or prosecutions in connection with these deaths.”
A spokesman for the RCMP told LifeSiteNews, however, that the agency will not confirm or deny whether an investigation is or will be underway. “We do not comment or confirm or deny what may or may not be the subject of an investigation,” he said.
The spokesman also said they “cannot confirm” if the results of any investigation would ever be made public, adding that in general after the RCMP conducts an investigation, the results “may be made public.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson