MP Stephen Woodworth

Committee set to examine definition of a human being

  • March 21, 2012

OTTAWA - A Conservative MP’s private member’s motion that critics charge will re-open the abortion debate has been officially declared votable and will have its first hour of debate on April 26.

MP Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312 would set up a Parliamentary Committee to examine Canada’s 400-year old definition of a human being in subsection 223 (1) of the Criminal Code. He has asked the definition be examined in light of advances in modern medical science.

Calls for a right to after-birth “abortion” to kill newborns have added to the urgency of this debate, he says.

Woodworth reacted Mar. 19 to a Journal of Medical Ethics online proposal advocating “after-birth abortion” arguing in a news release that this is another example of “why Parliament should refuse to accept any law that says some human beings are not human.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Justice Minister Rob Nicholson have repeatedly said they will not allow reopening of the abortion debate.

But Motion 312 has been approved under private member’s business for a vote.

“It’s good news,” said Woodworth in an interview from his Kitchener Centre, Ont. riding. “I would have been surprised if it hadn’t been.”

Woodworth says he has MPs lining up to speak on the motion, but the list is not finalized. After the April 26 vote, his motion will drop to the bottom in order of precedence, until it comes back to the House for a second hour of debate and a vote.

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