By John-Henry Westen Fr. Raymond Gravel

OTTAWA, December 13, 2007 ( – The Unborn Victims of Crime bill submitted by Conservative MP Ken Epp received its first hour of debate in the House of Commons today. The bill, that would allow criminal charges to be laid in the death or injury of an unborn child when the child’s mother is the victim of a crime, faced heated opposition however from Bloc MP Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest who was given permission to enter politics by his Bishop – Gilles Lussier of the diocese of Joliette.

“I’m a Catholic priest,” said Gravel as he began his remarks on the proposed legislation.

Gravel said he was “uncomfortable” with the bill “because the member putting it forward is part of a pro-life group, the Campaign Life Coalition, which in my view is a rather extreme fanatical group, when it comes to life.”  Gravel continued, “I’m pro-life but I’m not part of the pro-life movement in Canada.”

The priest who had promised his Bishop before entering politics that he would not take positions that went against the doctrines of the Church, added, “I also think this bill will open the door to a re-criminalization of women who have abortions, and that’s not to be desired.
“I’m against abortion, but this is no way to solve the problem of abortion.  It’s through education, through outreach, through helping women who have undesired pregnancies I think that’s how to solve the problem of abortion.  But not recriminalizing abortion, I don’t ever want to see that happen”

Speaking in French, Gravel acknowledged that the murder of a pregnant woman is abominable.  “But,” he added, “at the same time when the fetus is still in the mother they’re just one being. Its only when the fetus is born is when it becomes another being, when it becomes a human being.”

“Of course its serious to kill a pregnant woman, just as its serious to kill anyone, but I think its dangerous to create new legislation to treat it as a double murder when the fetus is killed along with the mother.”

Gravel accused the pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition of lacking in love and compassion.  “I’m opposed to the pro-life group, just as I am opposed to the pro-choice group,” he said.  “We have to be moderate in this.”

Despite Fr. Gravel’s claims to be moderate however, by opposing the legislation he falls into a minority group even among abortion supporters in Canada.  An Environics poll released in October 2007 found that 72% of Canadians – 75% of women – would support “legislation making it a separate crime to injure or kill a foetus during an attack on the mother.”

Even among those Canadians who support unrestricted abortion for the full nine months of pregnancy, 55% support “legislation making it a separate crime to injure or kill a foetus during an attack on the mother.”

Such legislation is also supported across party lines: 77% of Conservative supporters, 71% of Liberal, 71% of the Bloc Quebecois, 67% of the Green Party, and 66% of the NDP supporters are in favour of “legislation making it a separate crime to injure or kill a foetus during an attack on the mother.”

See Fr. Gravel’s remarks in the House of Commons Hansard here:…

To respectfully express concerns:

Archbishop Luigi Ventura,
Apostolic Nuncio to Canada:
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON.
Phone: (613) 746-4914

Diocese of Joliette:
2, rue St-Charles-Borromée Nord
C.P. 470
Joliette, Qc
J6E 6H6
Phone: (450) 753-7596
Fax: (450) 753-7933