On May 9, 2023, Member of Parliament Cathay Wagantall moved that Bill C-311, An act to amend the Criminal Code (violence against pregnant women), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
The act would amend the Criminal Code to ensure that the act of knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman and causing physical or emotional harm to a pregnant woman are factored in as aggravating circumstances for sentencing purposes. For a perpetrator who has been identified and found guilty, the sentence must be required to match the crime.
Jeff Durham lost his wife Cassie and their daughter Molly when someone assaulted Cassie and beat her to the point of death. He said, “Part of what's been lost in this debate is viability of a woman's choice. Two sides of an option make up a choice. You can't protect only one and still call it a choice. It's crazy to me that the argument on one side is against the choice of a woman. I've been thinking about it a lot in terms of reproductive rights. Like, how can we call them reproductive rights and then not extend them to the ones that chose to reproduce. It is so absurd. Someone who believes that such a choice belongs to a woman should be the strongest advocate for something like this.”
Intimate partner violence has steadily increased each year for the past seven years and 8 in 10 victims of that crime are women. A pregnant woman’s condition makes her more vulnerable to assault and less able to defend herself. Wagantall says, “Canada needs the Violence Against Pregnant Women Act to ensure that criminals who attack or kill a pregnant woman can be sentenced appropriately by our courts.”
Pray that continued dialogue would happen between the opposition and the government.
Pray that agendas or ideology would not get in the way. The government believes this is a ploy to truck them into opening the abortion debate. Pray that they would see reason in this bill to protect pregnant women.
Pray for Cathay Wagantall as she continues to speak to media and in the house, that she would have wisdom and conviction. Pray that their would be ears to hear the truth of what she is saying.