Saturday, March 08, 2008

"My Grandson was Murdered": A call for pro-choice compassion

This letter was published on February 25, 2008 by the Ottawa Citizen

It is a letter written by a grieving mother and grandmother who had to bury her 19 year old daughter, Olivia, and her son Liam who died in the womb.

I was in Ottawa on Feb. 14, what should have been my grandson's second birthday, at a press conference urging MPs to vote for Bill C-484, regarding the unborn victims of violence.

The next day, the Canadian Press reported on what Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada had to say about this bill and about the intentions of the MP who introduced it. It appalls me that she is still trying to turn my cause into some sort of abortion issue. Positive or negative, I do not want to see Bill C-484 connected to abortion whatsoever.

Ken Epp, the member of Parliament who introduced this bill, has worked hard to ensure there cannot be any mistaking that the abortion issue is totally excluded. Please refer to Mr. Epp's website, He has rebutted many of Ms. Arthur's claims, yet she continues to accuse him and anyone who supports this bill of having an ulterior motive. "It definitely is a back-door attempt to attack abortion rights," she told the media.

Here is an MP who is doing something to fight criminal violence, to help protect women and babies, to change the law so that no other grandmother in the future has to go through the grief and insult of being told that the murder of her grandson - that the murder of my darling Olivia's beloved baby, Lane Jr. -- doesn't even register a blip in our criminal justice system.

I also find it an insult that Ms. Arthur suggests my opinion regarding this matter should be irrelevant, as I have a vested interest - my daughter and my grandson were shot to death!

This is what she says on the coalition's website: "While we deeply sympathize with them and understand their wish, it must be recognized that victims of violence are not those who should be making decisions about justice in a democratic society. Appropriate laws and penalties must be determined by impartial parties who do not allow emotion or personal bias to colour their decisions."

Just who are these "impartial parties" she is referring to?

On the one hand she speaks about democracy and on the other she implies that I not be part of the democratic process.

In my own daughter's case, there will be no retribution toward the man who murdered her to kill my grandson. This is "justice in a democratic society"? Ms. Arthur is putting the rights of criminals ahead of the women they abuse, often in very brutal ways, and often done with the intention "to get the baby," to quote the killer of Olivia and baby Lane.

On the one hand she says she "deeply sympathizes" with me, yet if she doesn't recognize the violence against my wee Lane Jr., then what does she have to "sympathize" about?

To you Ms. Arthur: Please show some respect for my daughter's and her unborn baby's memory, for Lane Jr. who I held in my arms and wept for. And I feel that I can ask the same for the rest of the families who are at this time grieving the loss of their loved ones. I hope you never have to experience the pain and anguish and sense of injustice of losing a beloved family member to violence, only to learn that no crime was committed, only to learn that the one your heart breaks for, was of no worth

For those of you who are following this debate from the angle of the long-term impact that you believe it might have on abortion law I would encourage you to look at it from the perspective of a family. A family that had to bury their 19 year old daughter with her infant snuggling in her arms. A family that had named that baby, wanted that baby, and seen a baby born and survive with a comparable gestational age (one week difference). A family where the father of that unborn child and the fiance to the mother wept at the kitchen table in front of reporters talking about how elated they had been to welcome another baby. A man who described going to hold his little boy for the first time and him being dead after he was removed from her womb.
I remember his words - he described that little boy as perfect looking, beautiful, and like a little porcelain doll. The whole family gathered and took turns holding that baby before they had the unenviable difficulty of burying him along with his mother. Mrs. Talbot has been steadfast in her belief that the man who shot her daughter five times killing both her and her unborn child should be charged with two murders. The losses that she has faced inspire her and her entire family. While persons can have concerns about the implications of that and to politically organize to present an alternative opinion it is entirely unacceptable to show a lack of compassion to a family that has faced an unimaginable loss. Mrs. Talbot, I understand, is pro-choice and wants no impact on abortion. She is not someone who is trying to back-door any efforts to make abortion illegal she is just trying to do what she believes is the right thing. Surely, people who are pro choice and against this bill can find some way of communicating an alternative view without insulting this family.


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