By Andrew Schopp
Both sides in the abortion debate in Canada were reacting Thursday to the defeat of a bill in the House of Commons that proposed studying when human life begins.
Motion 312, proposed by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, was defeated Wednesday in the House of Commons by a vote of 203 to 91.
The motion called for the appointment of a 12-member committee to examine the legal definition of a human being. The law in question is sub-section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
“I certainly think that a law like sub-section 223, which by a false definition of human being dehumanizes and excludes a whole class of people, is a shameful law,” Woodworth said in a telephone interview with Humber News on Thursday.
“Canada is the only civilized country in the world, to my knowledge, which does, in fact, indicate that children before the moment of complete birth will not be considered to be human,” said Woodworth.
“I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
Sub-section 223 of the Criminal Code currently states “A child becomes a human being when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.”
“I think it was a great educational moment for Canadians to find out just what exactly the law is in Canada in regards to abortion,” said Natalie Hudson-Sonnen, executive director of Life Canada, an Ottawa based pro-life organization.“We are disappointed on the one hand that the motion was defeated but on the other hand we had members of Parliament stand up in favour of it, which I think is a victory for democracy,” Sonnen told Humber News.
“It shows that there are still people with good sense out there that won’t allow feminist rhetoric to be swaying them,” said Sonnen.
“Canada is one of the only countries in the world that has no protection for unborn human life whatsoever,” she said.
Joyce Arthur, executive director for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, told Humber News that although she is happy the motion was defeated she found it “shocking” that two ministers of state – including Minister of the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose – were among those who voted in favour of the motion.
Arthur said that Ambrose voted against “the interests of the people that she’s supposed to directly represent – women.”
She said her Vancouver-based group is “very concerned about that” and is calling for the minister’s resignation.
Woodworth said he will keep promoting his cause.
“I do intend to continue to encourage Canadians to persuade others including members of Parliament, of the consensus that I believe exists in Canada,” he said.