By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, December 6, 2007 ( – A Parliamentary subcommittee has ruled the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, introduced by Conservative MP Ken Epp, ‘votable’, meaning that it will be able to come before the full House of Commons for a vote.  A similar bill proposed last year by Conservative MP Leon Benoit was deemed non-votable at the subcommittee stage.  If passed, the law 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.

The families of the victims of pregnant mothers who were killed along with their unborn children were pleased with the outcome of the subcommittee deliberations. “We commend the members of the Subcommittee on Private Members Business for the step forward they took today in allowing the Unborn Victims of Crimes Bill (Bill C-484) to be debated in the House,” two of the families said in a joint statement.

Mary Talbot, mother of the deceased Olivia Talot and grandmother of Lane Jr. who also was killed said, “My daughter Olivia and my grandson Lane Jr. were taken from our family in November 2005. The day before Olivia and Lane Jr. were brutally murdered, I had spent time picking her up from her Baby classes, taking her home and together putting blue curtains into what should have been the baby’s nursery; a room to become a nursery to be filled with love and happiness. Nothing can prepare you to cope with such a loss.”

“I firmly believe that the Canadian Criminal code should be amended so that perpetrators of such horrible crimes can be trialed for the deaths of the two people they killed. I hope no other family will have to endure what we have been going through for the past two years,” she concluded.

Aydin Cocelli, brother-in-law of crime victim Aysun Sesen and uncle of her deceased daughter Gurl, recalled that after Aysun was killed, “Doctors tried to save her daughter Gurl by performing a caesarian section but nothing could be done to revive her baby.”

“Our family has been extremely affected by these dramatic events. No one can tell us that we only lost one loved one,” said Cocelli. “We were so happy to get ready to welcome a new member in our family and loved Gurl with all of our hearts despite not having yet seen her. Someone has taken future Christmas and birthdays from us and we demand justice.”

“There is absolutely no reason why a civilized and democratic country like Canada would not protect unborn victims of violence,” he added. “My family intends to keep fighting until Canada acknowledges that in crimes such as the ones committed against Aysun and Gurl, there are two victims, two murders.”

They concluded jointly: “We can only hope that Canadian parliamentarians understand that Olivia and Aysun’s cases are not isolated incidents and that Canada must incorporate protection for unborn victims of violence in the criminal code. We joined together in the hopes that the Prime Minister and the Members of parliament will hear our cry for justice.”

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.”