OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– A bill that would amend Canada’s criminal code to specifically protect pregnant women from violent “killers” who “intentionally sought to do harm,” as the bill sponsor puts it, had a successful first debate in the House of Commons last week.
“I stand this evening on behalf of pregnant women who have been and are facing violence while living in fear of injury or loss of their child. I stand humbly advocating on behalf of those who no longer breathe or have their voice and on behalf of their families, who have lost loved ones whose lives were taken in targeted violent crimes,” said Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall about her private members bill, Violence Against Pregnant Women Act, in the House of Commons last week.
“There are more than 80 cases in recent Canadian history of women who have been killed while pregnant. Each of these women was killed by men who knew they were pregnant,” added the conservative politician.
The Violence Against Pregnant Women Act , also called Bill C-311, was introduced by Wagantall, a pro-life MP representing the Saskatchewan riding of Yorkton-Melville, in February of this year.
On May 9, it received its second of three readings in the House.
Wagantall noted that in many cases pregnant women who face violence are targeted because they are pregnant, and often times end up losing the unborn child as a result of the violence.
“As it stands at this moment, we in this place have failed them by not requiring sentencing judges to take these actions into account,” she explained.
On the morning of the debate of her bill, Wagantall was joined by families of victims of violence against pregnant women, including Jeff Durham. His partner Cassie and unborn daughter Molly were murdered “by a mutual acquaintance.”
Also present was Chan and Sherry Goberdhan, whose daughter “Arianna and her unborn daughter Asaara were stabbed to death by Arianna’s estranged husband.”
“These are families who understand, more than anyone, the pain of this immense loss,” said Wagantall.
“They have been fighting for years in search of justice for their loved ones because they know that the criminal sentences delivered to their killers did not match the crime.”
Wagantall took issue as well with the Liberal Party of Canada MPs, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for “falsely” framing the legislation as a threat “Canadians access to abortion.”
She noted that the bill is “void of any mention of abortion.”
In a press release sent out yesterday, Wagantall noted how she was honored to speak about her proposed law.
“I was honoured and humbled to speak on behalf of more than 80 Canadian women who have been killed in recent memory– and many more injured – by men who knew they were pregnant,” said Wagantall.
“My bill comes at a critical moment for our country. Intimate partner violence has steadily increased each year for the past seven years and 8 in 10 victims of that crime are women. It’s time for our Parliament to make a bold stand for women who face violence and abuse when they are at their most vulnerable by passing C-311 into law.”
Bill would amend Canada’s criminal code to add extra protections for pregnant women
Wagantall said her Violence Against Pregnant Women Act, should it become law, proposes to add two new “aggravating factors to the Criminal Code of Canada.”
“The crimes of knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman and causing physical or emotional harm to a pregnant woman will require judges to consider them as aggravating circumstances during the sentencing process,” she noted in the press release.
Wagantall has said that any sentences given to those who have been “tried and found guilty of attacking pregnant women” should be proportionate to the “crimes committed.”
“Canada needs the Violence Against Pregnant Women Act to ensure that criminals who attack or kill a pregnant woman can be sentenced appropriately by our courts,” she added.
Fully titled An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (violence against pregnant women) Bill, C-311 reads: “Paragraph 718.2(a) of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subparagraph (ii.1).”
(ii.2) evidence that the offender, in committing the offence, abused a person whom the offender knew to be pregnant, and
(ii.3) evidence that the offence caused physical or emotional harm to a pregnant victim.
Wagantall’s bill has the support of CPC leader Pierre Poilievre, who unlike her, is pro-abortion.
In addition to Wagantall’s bill, there is another bill related to the unborn that may be introduced into the House of Commons in the near future.
People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier announced yesterday that if elected as an MP in an upcoming June byelection in Manitoba, he will introduce a private member’s bill to try and ban late-term abortion.
It remains to be seen how far Wagantall’s bill will go in Parliament, however, given the Liberal government under Trudeau’s full approval and promotion of abortion-on-demand.
Last Thursday, on the same day thousands of pro-life Canadians gathered in Ottawa for Canada’s 26th National March for Life, Trudeau’s Liberal caucus released a video fawning over the deadly practice of abortion.
The day prior, Trudeau pledged millions in additional funding for pro-abortion initiatives across the country.
Just before Christmas Trudeau’s pro-abortion government reaffirmed it remains committed to stripping pro-life organizations of their charitable tax status, a move that has been blasted by Canada’s top pro-life group, Campaign Life Coalition.
Since the 2021 election, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) has been working non-stop to rally all Canadians to demand that his government not remove charitable status from pro-life pregnancy centers and similar organizations.