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Petition pushes for recognition of unborn victims of crime

02/13/2015 04:01 EST | Updated 04/15/2015 05:59 EDT
An online petition to reintroduce a bill that recognize fetuses as separate victims when killed or harmed in attacks on pregnant women is gaining momentum following the brutal murder of pregnant woman in Windsor, Ont.

Cassandra Kaake was found dead at the scene of a house fire in Dec. 2014. The 31-year-old was seven months pregnant.

A postmortem examination found that Kaake died of blood loss caused by severe trauma.

Matthew Brush, 26, of LaSalle, Ont., has been charged with killing her.

Windsor resident Kim Badour said she was horrified to find out the accused only faces one murder charge.

"I'm a pro-choice feminist but I'm saying in this situation, this is the ultimate violence against women," Badour said.

The death of Kaake prompted her to start an online petition calling for the reintroduction of a bill known as the unborn victims of crimes act.

The private member's bill was introduced in 2008 by Conservative MP Ken Epp.

The purpose of the bill Epp said at the time, was to fill an important gap in Canadian law that allows the killer of a pregnant woman to be charged in the mother's death but not the fetus's.

The bill passed second reading but stalled after an election was called in 2008.

Law does not recognize fetuses 

Canadian law does not recognize fetuses as human beings until they are born alive.

Windsor defence lawyer Laura Joy believes the law needs to be ammended.

"In these rare cases we should have something in the criminal code dealing with this so that justice can be served," she said.

The Conservative MP for Essex Jeff Watson supported the initial bill in 2008 and said he would "absolutely" support it again.

"Obviously you're seeing Canadians are very passionate about these issues," he said.

However, as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport, he cannot introduce a private member's bill.

"We'll see if Canadians in other parts of the country express interest in it," he said.

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