Montreal

March for abortion rights part of pan-Canadian day of action

Two Quebec feminist groups came together Sunday to defend women's rights to abortion and oppose Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
About 5,000 people attended a Sunday march in Montreal for abortion rights. ((CBC))
Two Quebec feminist groups came together Sunday to defend women's rights to abortion and oppose Stephen Harper's Conservatives.

The Quebec Women's Federation and Quebec Family Planning Federation organized a march in Montreal to prevent the re-election of the Conservatives and protest bill C-484, a private member's bill that was also known as the "unborn victims of crime act."

They did not come out in support of any other federal political party.

Michèle Asselin, president of the Quebec Women's Federation, asked Quebecers to defeat the Conservatives and any political candidates who threatened women's rights.

Organizers of the march criticized bill C-484, introduced this year by a Conservative backbencher.

The bill proposed that unborn babies would be treated as separate victims when their mothers are killed or attacked.

It passed first reading in the Commons this year, but the Conservatives pulled the bill just before the election was called this month.

Protesters said Sunday such a bill could open the door to re-criminilizating abortion, 20 years after it was legalized.

"Before birth, the fetus has rights that are linked with those of the mother," Asselin said.

"We need to protect women against violence, especially conjugal violence, but no group that says they help women and support a bill like C-484 can be said to really protect women."

Johanne Fillion, president of the Quebec Family Planning Federation, said other measures could be taken to protect pregnant women, such as increasing funding for the prevention of violence against women or stiffening penalties for offenders.

Over 5,000 protesters participated in the march, which was attended by numerous Quebec unions and candidates from the NDP, the Liberals, and the Bloc Québécois.

The march was part of a pan-Canadian day of action for abortion rights and simultaneous demonstrations were held across the country.

now