Friday, April 25, 2008

I feel a retardedness in the force ... oh, hi, Peter.

Oh, dear. Apparently, the Blogging Tories' go-to dude on eugenics, Peter Csillag, is at it again, lowering the intellectual level of this part of the galactic quadrant. You remember, Peter, don't you? Yeah, that Peter.

Well, Peter's back, and just in time to hideously misrepresent the controversial Bill C-484. Here's Peter, fucking things up from the get-go:

Defending C-484: because it has nothing to do with abortion (sorry you leftist morons!)

Now, never let it be said that Blogging Tories co-founder Stephen Taylor can't find the absolute cream of the crop, the most intellectually engaging of Canada's right-wing punditry. But that's another story and would take away from dealing with drooling dimwit Peter Csillag so let's continue.

You are, of course, free to read the entirety of Peter's frothing imbecility, but I'm going to stop at the title since that's all I need to prove that Peter is a boneheaded hack because, despite Peter's ravings, Bill C-484 has everything to do with abortion, and the proof is, in fact, right there in the wording.

Let's start by actually reading the bill, shall we?

BILL C-484

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence)

Freeze. Right. There. And you can see the first problem, can't you? Why, yes ... it's that reference to "an unborn child." Because, as the non-retarded among you already understand, the Criminal Code of Canada most emphatically does not grant the status of "personhood" to a fetus. Yet by sneaking in the word "child" in that title line, it's clear where this bill is trying to go. There would have been absolutely nothing technically wrong with referring to a "fetus" in that passage, but the bill's author quite clearly had ulterior motives and is obviously determined to co-opt the language, as any good propagandist will. But it doesn't end there.

On the very next page, the bill's author (having set the stage) proceeds to push the envelope a bit further:


This enactment amends the Criminal Code by making it an offence to injure, cause the death of or attempt to cause the death of a child before or during its birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother.

Note how we've progressed from an "unborn" child to simply a "child", albeit possibly one "before its birth". But what does it mean to refer to the as-yet unborn explicitly as a "child," other than to implicitly grant it personhood? What other rationale is there? Again, the word "fetus" would have had the same technical value, but it wouldn't have provided the propaganda value in terms of implicit personhood, would it?

And we're still not done, as you can see if you continue reading the bill and see references like "an unborn child" and "the death of a child during birth or at any stage of development before birth." Oh, yes, the wording for this bill was chosen very carefully and precisely to maximize the implication that the unborn fetus is indeed a "child," despite what the Criminal Code of Canada might say. But what was the alternative? I'm glad you asked.

Idiots like Peter Csillag and pathological lunatics like Suzie All-Caps will insist that this is all about punishing the perpetrator of an offense against a woman if that offense also happens to cause harm or death to the fetus. This sounds reasonable -- surely you can't deny that there should be additional punishment for something like that. But it's the wording that's oh so critical.

A simple resolution to this would be just to tack on extra penitence because the pregnant mother suffered extra damage. Put another way, the sentence for the perp would be increased because the mother was more greviously injured or -- let me reword this just a bit -- because the mother was more of a victim. See how that works? And that proposal would work just fine. You injure or kill a fetus in the commission of an offense? Then your sentence goes up because the mother suffered extra harm; that is, harm to herself and her fetus. But that's not what the bill is proposing, is it? Note carefully the actual wording (emphasis added):

1. This Act may be cited as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act.

And right there is everything you need to know as to why this bill has nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with abortion. What the above phrase does is classify the unborn fetus as the "victim." Not the mother; the fetus. And the only way that makes any sense is if the fetus is to be considered a person.

In my first scenario, when the fetus was harmed or killed, it was the mother who was still considered to be the victim. Bill C-484 instead moves the mantle of victimhood from the mother to the fetus, and that's where the implicit personhood of the fetus comes in, and that's why this bill is such a dishonest piece of swill.

If Bill C-484's defenders were sincere about their concern for the women, they would happily reword that bill to refer simply to a "fetus" and to extra punishment for the offender. But that's not what this is all about, is it? It's about passing a bill that very carefully and very deliberately pushes the concept of personhood and victimhood from the mother to the fetus, and that's why this is all about abortion rights and nothing else.

And that's why people like Peter Csillag and SUZANNE are such lying douchebags. But it's not like you needed me to point that out, did you?


Pale said...

It's also disgusting that they want those who harm pregnant women to receive lesser sentences, and allow spouses who beat their pregnant wives to walk.
900ft Jesus wrote a while back:

Reduced offence

(2) An offence that would otherwise be an offence under paragraph (1)(a) may be reduced to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if the person who committed the offence did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation within the meaning of section 232.

So if a woman provokes the man and he beats her, causing a miscarriage, his sentenced could be reduced, because, you know, she provoked him.

Simply disgusting.

Red Tory said...

Nicely constructed argument CC.

Sheena said...

Whenever I read "unborn" I always get this zombie image of "undead" in my head.

Real_PHV_Mentarch said...

Here's my question: if this bill is "not about abortion", then what is the need for such a bill to begin with?

That's right: *no need*.

So, to recap: once again far-right wingnuts/republican franchisees/Harper and his Harpies attempted to criminalize abortion in an underhanded way, thinking themselves all clever and such. But oops - everyone caught the exercize for what it was and now we get sheer inanity in order to sell this bill as not being about abortion.

If it is not about abortion, and especially "not" about to criminalize it, then we do not need this bill - period.

And if it *is* about abortion - then we *still* do not need such a bill. Period.

What's next? A bill to ban flag burning?


Red Tory said...

Mentarch — Exactly. That's something I just can't seem to get my head around either. What freakin' purpose does this ludicrous bill serve? None at all that I can see.

skdadl said...

We probably do need to revisit what can be done with aggravated assault, although there are many more positive steps we could be taking to address violence against women -- and we know that those stats go up disproportionately for women who are pregnant or mothers of young children.

But pretty obviously, any intentional assault is an assault on the woman -- there is no other conceivable (you should excuse the expression) motive. Remove the woman, and the assault would not be happening.

Alison said...

"If it is not about abortion, and especially "not" about to criminalize it, then we do not need this bill - period."

"What freakin' purpose does this ludicrous bill serve?"

Yikes! Look, it patently is about re-opening the abortion debate - only this time it's been softened down and re-framed as mushy concern trolling instead of the previously more aggressive and straightforward religious argument that outright attacked a person's right to sovereignty over their own body.

JJ said...

mentarch - "Here's my question: if this bill is "not about abortion", then what is the need for such a bill to begin with?"

There is no need. It doesn't protect, it doesn't deter. All it does is recognize a fetus as "Baby Johnny" instead of "a fetus". "Baby Johnny and his mother, Baby Johnny's Mommy, were viciously attacked", etc. instead of "a pregnant woman was viciously attacked".

Pregnant women would be more effectively protected by a bill that makes it a more heinous crime, with harsher punishment, to harm a pregnant woman and cause a miscarriage. The fact that anti-choicers vehemently refuse to consider this option is telling.

choice joyce said...

Pretty funny! Csillag I mean. As one of the first to raise the alarm over C-484 and a leading activist against it, I'm quite shocked to learn for the first time about my true cynical motivations and behind-the-scene machinations. Who knew I was that cunning? LOL!

Of course it's the Cons opening up the aborton debate through this bill, us pro-choicers would rather the whole issue just go away, so we can concentrate on furthering other women's rights. If it ends up contributing to an election loss for the Tories, it won't be our fault, that's for sure!

He makes an interesting point though with Judith Jarvis Thompson's thought experiment. Any "rights" the fetus might have must necessarily be moot and meaningless, because the woman's right over her body is absolute. Indeed, our Supreme Court has stated a woman and her fetus are "physically one" (Dobson v. Dobson) and all rights must accrue to the woman. BUT...this means that C-484 is thumbing its nose at established law and precedent by giving fetuses the right not to be killed, which could compromise women's rights in various ways. Just because the bill is unconstitutional on its face and conflicts jarringly with the Criminal Code, doesn't mean it might not pass, and we don't want to have to launch a court challenge to get it finally thrown out.

Thanks for the great rebuttal, Canadian Cynic.

Anonymous said...

you guys are the real lunatics here.