Mother of slain pregnant teen defends unborn-murder bill

Ottawa’s backing of a controversial bill that will protect the rights of an unborn child has sparked unnecessary debate on the long-dormant issue of abortion, says the Edmonton mother of a slain pregnant teenager.

Mary Talbot — whose 19-year-old daughter, Olivia, was shot to death in 2005 when she was seven months pregnant — has rallied for the Unborn Victims of Crime Act to become law, making it a crime to cause the death of an unborn child when a pregnant woman is attacked.


"It’s bad enough that people would attack a woman, or anybody, but a pregnant woman? They’re so vulnerable," Talbot said yesterday. "If it’s known out there that this is even worse, then maybe people will stop and think before they do such stupid, insane things."

The House gave approval in principle to the bill last week, a move that opponents say is a back-door attempt to put restrictions on abortions, but which proponents say merely protects unborn children who are wanted by their parents.

Talbot’s support of the bill, which is backed by Conservative MP Ken Epp, has drawn harsh criticism from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, which claims she’s just an upset mother out for vengeance.

But Talbot has fought back against their criticism, pointing out that she’s actually pro-choice and how the bill specifies that it would not apply to an abortion to which the mother has consented.

"For whatever reason, they think this bill is against them when it’s not," she said. "It’s a completely different law."

The bill has the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and some, but not all, members of three of the four parties in the House.

Epp said the bill should actually be attractive to proponents of choice since it is designed to protect the babies of women who have chosen to carry their pregnancy to term.

The bill passed in a free vote by 147 to 132, but it still has an uphill battle ahead. It must get through the Justice Committee and then a final vote in the House. Then it will have to pass the Liberal-dominated Senate.

Talbot’s daughter was murdered by a childhood friend who shot her twice before taking aim at her stomach and firing three more times "to get the baby," court heard. Her killer is currently serving a life sentence in prison. –with files from Reuters

Steve Lillebuen/Metro Edmonton

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