Pre-born Victims of Crime

Pre-born Victims of Crime

Victims unrecognized by Canada’s law

Pre-born children are not recognized as victims by Canada’s law. Not only are they vulnerable to abortion at any gestational age, but they are also unrecognized by our criminal law. When a woman is violently attacked by someone who knows she is pregnant, there are no legal repercussion for the harm to her baby. This gap in Canadian law means there is a lack of justice for abused pregnant women and their children.

There are more than 80 cases in recent Canadian history of women who died along with their pre-born children. Many others face assaults that harm both them and their pre-born children. It is time for legislators to ensure that true justice is served in the case of violent crime against pregnant women.

Advocate for pre-born victims of crime

Independent polling found that approximately 70% of Canadians (and close to 75% of women) support tougher penalties for those who commit crimes against a pregnant woman. This indicates a desire for change in Canada to reflect the value of a woman’s choice to carry her baby and her right to do so in safety.

We need a law that recognizes the harm abusing a pregnant woman and her child does. A sentence should match the crime. The sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code should be amended to account for the vulnerable state of a pregnant woman and the harm that is done to her child. 

What law does Canada need?

In 2016, Member of Parliament Cathay Wagantall introduced Bill C-225, The Protection of Pregnant Women and Pre-born Children Act, which was also known an Cassie & Molly’s Law. While this bill was voted down in Parliament before reaching committee stage, tens of thousands of Canadians were supporting this bill.

Canada’s lack of abortion law should not detract from the injustices these women and children faced. Canada needs a pre-born victims of crime law so criminals who attack a pregnant woman can be sentenced appropriately by our courts. These children matter, regardless of their location at the time of the crime. These women matter, mothers who desire life for both themselves and their babies.

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