The Canadian Civil Liberties Association supports the right of a woman to choose the medical treatment that she prefers, and the right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy or carry it to term. Private Members’ Bill C-510 - Roxanne’s Law – would make it unlawful to “coerce” or attempt to “coerce” a female into getting an abortion. In the Bill, “coercion” is defined so broadly as to include “conduct that is intentionally and purposely aimed at directing the female person who has not chosen to have an abortion to have an abortion.”
The murder of Roxanne Fernando is a tragedy. It is appropriate for the persons responsible to be convicted and punished for this heinous crime.
However the new prohibitions that Bill C-510 attempts to create are not helpful in addressing the question of violence against women.
A young pregnant woman has the right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or to terminate it. Whichever option she chooses, she should not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats or the removal of financial support. The Criminal Code already prohibits all of these activities. Thus there is no need for Bill C-510. In any event, this bill only addresses the “coercion” of abortion.
Furthermore, by only creating prohibitions around abortion, the Bill effectively implies that this is not a valid or legitimate choice.
In addition, Bill C-510 is so broad in its language, that it might have the potential to criminalize the activities of Planned Parenthood and other social and healthcare workers, who provide important information and medical treatment – including abortion – to those who choose it.
In light of the above, CCLA calls for the withdrawal and the defeat of Bill C-510.