Although we are still talking National Post blog-space, not the body of the main newspaper. So I'm not sure whether this counts as MSM coverage or not. My favorite bit:
Ms. Fortin repeats the word “fetus” numerous times and claims that Bill C-484 “does not in any way confer personhood or rights upon the fetus.” That is false. The bill never even uses the word fetus! Instead, “child” and “unborn child” are used to refer to even very early pregnancies, as soon as the woman suspects she might be pregnant. This is an unprecedented extension of such language in the Criminal Code and clearly, it confers personhood on the fetus. The bill makes the penalty for killing a fetus the same as for homicide, and includes it as an offence “Against the Person and Reputation” (even though that part of the code already defines fetuses as non-persons). Just by making it a separate crime to kill or injure an “unborn child,” the bill creates at least some degree of fetal personhood.
This part I wonder about, however:
The bill’s proponents, including Ms. Fortin, are fond of citing a survey from last October that found 72% of Canadians support a bill like C-484. What they never say is that the poll was commissioned by anti-abortion group LifeCanada to measure “Canadians’ attitudes towards abortion issues.” The poll’s question on a fetal homicide law was grouped with other questions on abortion restrictions, with biased wording to elicit a positive answer.
Given the source, the Lifesite poll was almost certainly biased in the manner noted. However, an Angus Reid survey conducted just last month month gave very similar results:
In the online survey of a representative national sample, 70 per cent of respondents support the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, while 19 per cent express opposition.
See full release here.
I am still of the opinion that the Tories made some clever tactical moves on C-484 by insisting loudly (though disingenuously) that it was not about abortion, and by making their vehicle a private member's bill. This way Stephen Harper can step back and say, "Look! Abortion has been regulated, but it isn't my fault!"
(Finally, I'm not really sure who the author of the Natty Post essay is. It looks as though Marni Soupcoff has allowed Joyce Arthur some blog space).
Update: Fern Hill analysed the Angus Reid Poll a couple of weeks ago and found it wanting.
Update: Joyce Arthur responds in the comments:
The National Post piece is by me, Joyce Arthur. They sent me a version yesterday to edit, but didn't bother waiting for my response, even though I sent an updated version later the same day.
Because of the newer Angus Reid poll that came out since I submitted the piece to the Post over THREE weeks ago, I had added the following sentence to the paragraph about the polls, which didn't make it in:
"Polling results on this issue are also misleading because the public is not generally aware of the risks the bill poses to women's rights."
The point being, this is a complex issue. The Angus Reid poll made no attempt to explain the problems with the bill, which are not going to be readily apparent to the average Joe and Jane. Everybody of course wants to protect pregnant women, but most will not realize what a Trojan Horse this bill is. Unfortunately, the majority public support for this bill is a red herring, at least for now.