The Corner

Fourth-Trimester Abortion

From the Court of Queen’s Bench (the appellate court) in Alberta:

The Wetaskiwin, Alta., woman convicted of infanticide for killing her newborn son, was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday by an Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench judge.

Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents’ home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbour’s yard…

Effert will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won’t spend time behind bars for strangling her newborn son.

Indeed. As Judge Joanne Veit puts it:

“While many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support,” she writes… “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.”

Gotcha. So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person — that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetus stage. How long do those mitigating factors apply? I mean, “onerous demands”-wise, the first month of a newborn’s life is no picnic for the mother. How about six months in? The terrible twos?

Speaking of “onerous demands,” suppose you’re a “mother without support” who’s also got an elderly relative around with an “onerous” chronic condition also making inroads into your time?

And in what sense was Miss Effert a “mother without support”? She lived at home with her parents, who provided her with food and shelter. How smoothly the slick euphemisms — “accept and sympathize . . . onerous demands” — lubricate the slippery slope.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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