Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Rona Ambrose, one of the most socially progressive members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, is throwing her support behind a private member’s bid to legally recognize the rights of the unborn.


Ambrose told reporters she backs the so-called Unborn Victims of Crime Act, or C-484, a bill put forward by Conservative MP Ken Epp, that critics call a backdoor method to make abortions more difficult to obtain in Canada.


Epp says his bill states it doesn’t apply to abortion, and Ambrose, who worked with women’s shelters in her pre-political life, said yesterday the bill is about crime, not abortion.


“Our government has no interest, no intention of reopening the abortion debate. That debate is over. It was over a long time ago, but there is an issue of protecting pregnant women who choose to have a baby,” Ambrose told Torstar News Service.


Ambrose said she decided to weigh into the debate yesterday after she heard Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion vow at a news conference his party would do all it could to block C-484.

“I want to give my word to all the women of Canada that the Liberal Party of Canada is against (reopening) women’s right to decide ... We are against that and we will not allow that to happen,” Dion said.

“This is not a crime bill and this is a way to reopen the debate we don’t want to reopen.”
Ambrose said it’s Dion who’s turning it into an abortion debate.

“I think he’s taking a very partisan tack on what could be a very non-partisan issue that we could address together,” Ambrose said. “I think he’s fear-mongering women on this issue.”