Under its current law for the last 400 years, Canada has said that an unborn child is not a human. It is also one of the few countries in the world that has no restrictions on abortions. Section 223 (1) of the Criminal Code says that an unborn child becomes a human only at the moment of birth.
Conservative Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth has criticized this state of the law and introduced Motion 312, a bill scheduled to be voted on later in 2012. Motion 312 would reopen abortion laws by requiring a group of experts to give their views on when life begins and if unborn babies should be protected under the law. Woodworth said:
My motion is designed specifically to look at the question of how we decide what is a human being and who we decide is a human being. That debate has been left hanging by almost every court that has adjudicated on the subject.
Woodworth also related that many Canadians don’t believe the notion that “birth is a moment of magical transformation that changes a child from a non-human to a human being.” If his motion does pass, the Commons committee will proceed and listen to experts’ say on the definition of life.
It’s no surprise that Woodworth’s actions were accompanied by much criticism. Government Chief Whip Gordon O’Connor, a member of the Tory Caucus, stated:
Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations where some women may have to choose the option of abortion. It cannot be eliminated.
He also went on to say that those against abortion should not impose their views on the Criminal Code. A host of objections were raised as New Democrat Party MP Françoise Boivin said the bill is “a full frontal assault on a woman’s right to choose.” Liberal MP Hedy Fry added that the measure is “totally untenable and unconstitutional.” And NDP MP Niki Ashton stated that “Canadians will not stand for a veiled attempt to roll back women’s rights.”
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said he will be voting against the bill, has been the focus of criticism from pro-abortion politicians for not taking enough measures to stop the motion in the first place. Despite Harper’s personal views on abortion, he said that private members are allowed to introduce new bills and measures in this case.
Woodworth has experienced support not only from peaceful pro-life protesters, but also from fellow conservative Brad Trost, who acknowledged that he is very proud of his pro-life views and would support any proposal that support his views in any way. Until the vote later this year, we need to keep our voices raised and help Stephen Woodworth and his colleagues spread the truth.