I submit this for general discussion, with the premise that it could either create a whole new can of worms for the lawyers to pick at or it might actually be a worthy cause, with noble intentions. I think its a good idea, but can sense some potential pitfalls....

Bill designed to protect pregnant women: Tories. Fetal rights not at issue, Justice minister says

Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

OTTAWA -- The Harper government moved yesterday to extinguish an emerging debate over fetal rights by distancing itself from a Conservative private members' bill that would make it a separate crime to injure or kill a fetus while committing violence against a pregnant woman.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, whose government is expected to go to the polls this fall, said he will introduce his own competing bill that would make pregnancy an aggravating factor for judges to take into account when sentencing those who assault expectant mothers.

But he stressed that he intends to make it clear that the new law is worded in a way that "leaves no room for the introduction of fetal rights."

The milder proposal comes after Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion sought last week to reopen the divisive abortion debate by challenging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to clarify his views on the issue, which dogged him in the last two election campaigns.

Nicholson said his bill comes in the wake of a private members' bill, introduced last November by Conservative MP Ken Epp, which opponents have warned could infringe upon a woman's access to abortion by establishing that the unborn are persons in their own right.

Epp's bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it a separate crime to injure or kill a fetus while attacking an expectant mother.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

On the surface it protects the unborn child, but that in itself is a huge issue that encompasses several other, perhaps greater discussions.

What say you?