Quick Links To MYC National Communications On Bill C-225:
Oct. 21st, 2016 – Cassie and Molly’s Law Voted Down This Past Wednesday
Oct. 6th, 2016 – Update on Cassie and Molly’s Law: Bonus Time to Make an Impact.
February 25th, 2016 – Exciting New Bill Tabled In Parliament
Quick Links to Official C-225 Documents:
On February 23rd, 2016, MP Cathay Wagantall introduced her Private Members’ Bill, C-225, named “Cassie and Molly’s Law”. This was a common sense bill to help protect women during pregnancy and would have ensured that charges could be laid for the injury or death of a pre-born child in crimes committed against its mother.
Sadly, Bill C-225 failed to pass voting in the House of Commons on October 19th, 2016 with a vote of 209 nays to 76 in support, and did not progress to the committee stage to be studied and amended. Bill C-225 is now considered “dead”.
Filling a Gap in Canadian Law:
When an attacker kills a pregnant woman’s pre-born child in Canada, no charge can be laid in that child’s death, even when the attacker purposely intended to kill the child. Our criminal law currently does not recognize any harm or injury done to these children in such circumstances. This gap in federal law gives rise to grave injustices.
In December 2014, Cassandra Kaake from Windsor, Ontario, was seven months pregnant when she was brutally murdered. Her pre-born daughter, Molly, was also killed in that attack, but no charge could be laid in Molly’s death.
In November 2005, Olivia Talbot of Edmonton who was 27 weeks pregnant with her son, Lane Jr., was shot three times in the abdomen and twice in the head by a long-time friend. No charge could be laid in the death of Baby Lane.
Bill C-225 would have created new offences for injuring or causing the death of a pre-born child while committing a criminal offence against a pregnant woman, when the person knows she is pregnant. This would have allowed for two charges to be laid when someone attacks a pregnant woman and, as a result, kills or harms her pre-born child.
Bill C-225 would’ve acted as a strong deterrent to committing violence against pregnant women, since the penalty for causing the death of the child can be much more severe than the stiffest penalty for assault.
The bill also explicitly included pregnancy as an aggravating circumstance in sentencing. Although judges can already consider pregnancy as an aggravating factor, codifying it in criminal law requires a judge to always consider this factor in sentencing.
Simply put, Bill C-225 was strictly aimed at third-parties who knowingly commit a crime against a pregnant woman and in the process, harm or kill her pre-born child.
Bill C-225 and Abortion:
This bill would not in any way have impacted a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy. Rather, it was about protecting pregnant women and their pre-born children from the actions of third parties who want to do them harm.
Because the new offences only apply when someone is committing a criminal offence against the woman, abortion is necessarily, by definition, excluded, as are any acts or omissions by the pregnant woman herself. “Cassie and Molly’s Law” cannot be used to prosecute a pregnant woman for any harm she may cause to her own pre-born child. This is because, by definition, the new offences only apply when a person knowingly commits a criminal act against a pregnant woman and thereby harms or kills her pre-born child – they are not stand-alone offences.
This legislation honours and protects a woman’s ‘right to choose’ to give birth to her baby.
MP Cathay Wagantall on Cassie and Molly’s Law:
Parliament Fails Cassie and Molly
October 20th, 2016 – CBC News – Cassie and Molly’s law fails House of Commons vote
October 8th, 2016 – Huffington Post – ‘Preborn Children’ Bill Linked To Tragedy Spurs Difficult Debate
May 2nd, 2016 – iPolitics – Tory MP denies her bill to protect pregnant women would impact abortion rights
February 24th, 2016 – CBC News – Cassie and Molly’s law would allow more punishment when a pregnant woman is harmed
What You Can Do:
1) Thank the Molly Matters team:
Please send a message of thanks, support, and sympathy to Jeff Durham & Nancy Kaake by posting on the Molly Matters Facebook page. Please also take a moment to thank MP Cathay Wagantall who has championed this private member’s bill with such excellence and grace. Contact Ms. Wagantall through e-mail or by tweeting her @cathayw.
The Nov. 2016 MY Canada delegation to Parliament was honoured to present MP Cathay Wagantall with the Hero Award at our Parliamentary Reception on November 30th, 2016.
2) Speak to your MP about their vote:
Your Member of Parliament’s job is to represent you in the House of Commons. Did your MP vote to support Bill C-225 as you asked them to? We encourage you to see how your MP voted and to contact them regarding their vote (respectfully).
Click here to find your MP by postal code.
Click here to see how your Member of Parliament voted on Bill C-225.