Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall is denouncing the Liberal-NDP coalition for defeating her Private Members’ Bill aimed at protecting vulnerable pregnant women, claiming they “have voted to enable attackers.”

Bill C-311, titled ​​the Violence Against Pregnant Women Act, failed Second Reading in the House of Commons Wednesday. 113 MPs voted in favour of, while 205 voted against.

“By voting against this bill, the coalition has silenced the voices of vulnerable women who face violence when pregnant,” said Wagantall in a press release. “They have also silenced the 70% of Canadians and 73% of Canadian women who want to see increased protection for pregnant women in our laws.”

The bill sought to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to add abusing and causing physical or emotional harm to a pregnant woman to the list of “aggravating circumstances” during the sentencing process.

This would have meant that an offender could have received a harsher sentence for assaulting a pregnant woman.

Only Conservatives ended up supporting the bill. The Liberals and NDP voted against it, claiming it was “anti-abortion.” The word “abortion” is not mentioned anywhere in the text of the bill.

Bloc Quebecois and Green MPs present also voted against Bill C-311, as well as Independent MPs Han Dong and Alain Rayes.

Wagantall says the government is showing their unwillingness to address violent crime in Canada by rejecting her bill. Intimate partner violence has been steadily increasing over the past years, with women making up the majority of victims.

“Shamefully, the Liberals and NDP have voted to enable attackers to continue to murder, maim, and assault a woman in her most vulnerable state without tougher consequences for their actions.”

Wagantall also extended her thanks to Canadians who supported her bill. 

“I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of Canadians who have made their desires known through their letters, phone calls, opinion polls, and comments of disgust and disappointment with the Liberal social media campaign that opposed the bill.”

She added that she was “honoured by the strong support of my Conservative colleagues and our leader, the Hon. Pierre Poilievre.”

Over 80 pregnant women in Canada have been killed in recent years. 

These women include 18-year-old Rori Hache, who was killed by a man who repeatedly hit her in the head with a hammer or a similar object, and 31-year-old Cassandra Kaake who was killed by a man who strangled her, slit her throat, poured gasoline on her and set her house on fire.

Rori Hache. (Facebook Photo)
Cassandra Kaake. (Molly Matters)

Wagantall acknowledged families of victims, noting, “I am in debt to the families of victims who have invested so much hard work and emotional capital into seeing true justice achieved for pregnant victims of crime—notably Jeff Durham, who lost Cassie and Molly; and Sherry and Chan Goberdhan, who lost Arianna and Asaara.”

“To all of these Canadians, I want you to know that your work is not in vain. The majority of Canadians are on side with the protections C-311 would have provided. The day will come when Canadian law recognizes this gap in the Criminal Code and ensures that those who violently attack pregnant women receive serious jail time.”

“One day, the sentences for these criminals will match the crime.”