From The Star:
OTTAWA--A Conservative MP has introduced a private member's bill that would make it a separate criminal offence to harm an unborn child in cases where a pregnant mother is assaulted or murdered.
The bill that pro-choice advocates say has implications for the abortion debate in this country "is not an abortion bill," says Alberta Conservative backbencher Leon Benoit, who describes himself as "pro-life."
I am skeptical of Mr. Benoit's claim, especially as in the U.S. Pro-Lifers have been attempting for years to employ Fetal Homicide billsas part of their quest to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the idea being that if you are willing to recognize that a fetus is a separate person with their own set of rights, it follows that abortion is murder. Something similar is surely going on in this case.
Despite Harper's promise to not "initiate" any abortion legislation during his first mandate, he always left open the possibility a private member's bill, and those of us who spoke of a Tory Hidden Agenda predicted something that like this would take place. While I suppose we are safe enough in a minority government situation, give Harper a majority and watch out.
Incidentally, I think that Harper's using a "free vote" to settle such issues is entirely disingenuous, as it allows him to (perhaps) legislate restrictions through private members initiatives and at the end of the day say "Oh Look! We've banned abortion, but its not my fault! Its just democracy at work! The Will of Parliament!" and other such nonsense.