A Crack in the Law

The intent required is quite specific. The prosecutor must prove that in disposing of the dead body of a child, the accused intended to conceal the fact that the child’s mother had been delivered of the child. Again, seeing as abortion is completely unrestricted throughout pregnancy, punishing a person for an attempt to conceal a pregnancy is odd; the section reeks of a Canada where hidden pregnancy was common and women were ruined by unwed motherhood. That is not Canada today. About one third of all births in Canada now are to unwed mothers and the “stigma” of illegitimacy is functionally nonexistent. Criminalizing the concealment of childbirth make no sense in contemporary Canada.

Nevertheless, the prohibition on concealing the dead body of a child remains, and in Ms. L’s case the Court of Appeal had to determine how it was to be applied. The key question for the Court was how can a “child [who] died before … birth” be considered a child? The issue of intent to conceal giving birth was not dealt with except in passing.

This month, the Court of Appeal concluded a child who died before birth means a fetus that could have been viable. The Court settled on a “chance of life” standard. If the fetus could have survived then the fetus is a child for this section. Of course, with advances in medicine, the date of viability gets earlier and earlier. It is clear that “child” as defined by Ms. L’s case differs from “child” in other areas of the law. … (Source)

Could this be a small opening for pro-life arguments to push for an abortion “non-law”? Could be.

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