Hysterical feminists overreacting to the Unborn Victims of Crime Act (National Post March 12, 2008)

Hysterical feminists overreacting to the Unborn Victims of Crime Act

Barbara Kay, National Post

Published: March 12, 2008

The word “hysteria” has its root in the Greek word for uterus. It was coined by Hippocrates as a medical condition peculiar to women.

Understood as irrational emotional flailing about whenever public discussion touches on a woman’s fruitful uterus, Hippocrates’s neologism is spot on. Try to say out loud in this country that what’s in a woman’s pregnant belly is a human being, not a blob of tissue, and hysteria emerges in three interesting variations.

One is the irrational impulse to ban discussion of an abortion law altogether, as we saw at York University on March 5, when a debate was summarily cancelled on the grounds that the issue was settled. Of course, that is not true, as Tuesday’s Post editorial, “The abortion debate isn’t over,” reminds us.

We saw evidence of two other kinds of hysteria in response to Bill C-484.

C-484 is MP Ken Epps’s private member’s bill, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence),” better known by its nickname, “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act,” which passed second reading in the Commons last Wednesday.

Until now, a woman and her fetus have been treated as a single legal person. By laying two criminal charges in a pregnant woman’s murder, C-484 will validate the unborn baby’s existential human uniqueness.

An Environomics poll suggests that 75% of Canadian women approve of the bill. As Suzanne Fortin of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario (herself pregnant) wrote in these pages Monday, “Bill C-484 is a common-sense bill that would address the true nature of a woman’s relationship with her fetus.”

Those women who hate the bill may be a minority, but they are noisy, if not exactly rational. Hear them roar — yes, hysterically — on the blogosphere: “Dear Liberals: You f****** suck” and “every one of [you] should be marked for political death” reflects the betrayal that furious feminists see in the critical support given to C-484 by 28 Liberals — Liberals!!! — who dared to vote with the Conservatives.

I’ll spare you the far more disgusting epithets meted out to the sole NDP MP, Peter Stollar, who also voted for the bill.

The ire of the hysterical bloggers is fuelled by a more decorous, but equally irrational form of emotional bullying and conspiracy-theorizing by mainstream feminist pundits. Typical is Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star, who in her March 7 column implies that C-484 is the gateway to abortion protections being “struck down by the courts,” in spite of firm assurances by Ken Epps that C-484 has nothing to do with current abortion practice, and is only “about protecting the choice of a woman to give birth to her child.”

Zerbisias’s supposed trump “argument” against C-484 is that “the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a woman and her fetus are considered ‘one person.’ That means there are no ‘unborn victims’ of crime.”

But wait: Women were not “legal persons” until 1929. That didn’t mean that before 1929 their husbands had the right to kill them.

And as for the other predictable moral laundering gambit — that mother and fetus are one person because their biological systems operate symbiotically — well, the same is true of Siamese twins, indisputably two human beings. If one is murdered, and the other dies in consequence, should only one charge be laid?

The no-abortion-constraints high ground was once staked out on the premise that for many months the foetus was just “protoplasm,” not really human. But years ago, shockingly recognizable human images available through ultrasounds as early in pregnancy as eight weeks put paid to that once-comforting illusion. (Remember that riveting line in the movie Juno: “It’s got fingernails!”)

The intellectual cupboards of the no-abortion-constraints crowd are bare. Their fallback position has become ever more unworthy of enlightened democrats: censorship, personal attack and scare-mongering. Such is their logical desperation, they prefer to advocate that murderers escape justice rather than admit that an unborn child is a human being.

Those ancient Greeks had a knack for words. Hysteria is a good one. Hypocrisy is another. Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s Morgentaler decision 20 years ago, Canadians have patiently endured more than enough of both from the self-righteous camp of yesterday’s feminists.