OTTAWA - Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion proposing a committee study the legal definition of when life begins is not likely to gain much traction in the House of Commons.

The Kitchener, Ont., MP’s Motion 312 was debated in Parliament April 26, but gained no support from other MPs, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has said repeatedly that he will not support the motion, which most believe is aimed at getting Parliament to reopen the abortion debate.

Chief Government Whip Gordon O’Connor made the case for the status quo — which is no legal protection for the unborn from birth until the baby leaves the birth canal.

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OTTAWA - Organizers are anticipating a record turnout of marchers and bishops for the 15th National March for Life to be held May 10 in Ottawa.

More than a dozen bishops participated in last year’s March for Life, which drew 15,000 people, the largest crowd in the event’s history. An additional 10,000 people attended marches in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We were absolutely delighted with the turnout last year and we’re looking forward to an even bigger turnout this year,” said Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas.

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MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - It should come as no surprise to anybody that Catholic students are active and informed about issues that are directly related to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, said Bruce Campbell, spokesperson for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

But a recent anti-abortion petition that was circulated at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Mississauga in support of MP Stephen Woodworth's private member's motion to re-open a debate on Section 223 of the Criminal Code was called "coercion" by the Centre for Inquiry Canada, a Toronto-based atheist group, in media reports. Section 223 states a child in the womb is not human until birth.

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DUBLIN - Ireland's parliament rejected legislation that would have allowed a controversial 1992 Supreme Court ruling permitting abortion in limited circumstances to take effect.

The Socialist Party motion was defeated 111-20 April 19.

Published in International

SAO PAULO - Supreme Court justices in Brazil voted to legalize the abortion of fetuses without brains or those with malformed brains, despite an effort that saw thousands of Brazilians praying outside of the court, urging the justices to protect the life of unborn children.

By late April 12, the majority of justices had announced their votes.

The Brazilian bishops' conference asked Catholics to hold prayer vigils outside of the court to encourage justices to consider the life of the unborn child prior to their vote.

Published in International

About 23,000 Ontarians have signed a petition demanding Ontario stop funding medically unnecessary abortions, said Alissa Golob, youth co-ordinator for Campaign Life Coalition.

“And it’s still growing,” Golob said of the most recent numbers released March 26.

The petition is part of a two-year initiative to convince the provincial government to defund abortion in Ontario. Launched in October with the Defund Abortion Rally at Queen’s Park, the initiative includes pamphleting every riding in Ontario at least once with defund abortion literature, doing individual picketing outside MPP offices and lobbying.

Petitions were received from every riding in Ontario, said Golob.

“We’re currently in the process of giving them over to politicians. And then, as we get them in and gather another 20,000, we’ll do it again until we achieve success.”

The purpose of the petition is to send a message to Queen’s Park that this is an issue constituents are concerned about, she said.

“There is an army of people behind this campaign and it’s not just a small campaign led by some young people that isn’t worthy of their notice.”

An Abacus Data poll released last fall found 91 per cent of Canadians were not aware at least $30 million of public money is being spent annually to fund abortion procedures.

“I think it’s logical, whether you’re pro-life or not, that we shouldn’t be funding an elective procedure that’s medically unnecessary.”

Golob estimates the campaign will exceed about 50,000 signatures by the end.

“People don’t know about the funding of abortion in Ontario, which is why the education process is so important.”

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MANCHESTER, England - A Catholic nurse in central England has won a battle over her right to conscientiously object to involvement in abortions.

The nurse, who asked not to be named because of fear of reprisal from her hospital employer, convinced National Health Service managers that her right to conscientious objection was protected by law.

Without anyone going to court, the managers dropped their threat to dismiss the nurse because of her refusal to work in an abortion clinic attached to the hospital in the British Midlands, she told Catholic News Service April 2.

Published in International

WASHINGTON - Just in time for Mother's Day, U.S. Catholics parishes will be able to celebrate the new Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb.

The Vatican has given its approval to publication in English and Spanish of the new rite, which was approved by the U.S. bishops in November 2008, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced March 26.

The blessing will be printed in both languages in a combined booklet.

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WASHINGTON - Actress Shari Rigby sat right across from her interviewer, her legs crossed. On the instep of her right foot was a tattoo of a flower. She was asked what it was.

"Her name would have been Lily," Rigby answered, "and so that's there to remind me."

She was talking about the baby she had aborted 20 years ago.

Published in Movie News

For the first time, several pro-life groups on university campuses in British Columbia held Life Week simultaneously to bring the abortion debate to their peers.

“They debated the morality of abortion and whether abortion should remain legal,” said Anastasia Pearse, western campus co-ordinator for the National Campus Life Network. Jojo Ruba from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform debated the pro-life side while various philosophy professors took the pro-choice side.

Published in Youth Speak News

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.

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MANCHESTER, England - A Scottish court ruled that two senior Catholic midwives have no right to conscientiously object to overseeing staff involved in late-term abortions in a state-run hospital.

The Court of Session, Scotland's supreme civil court, ruled that Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, could not invoke the conscience clause of the 1967 Abortion Act to opt out of their duties at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital because they were not directly involved in performing the abortions.

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VICTORIA, B.C. - The University of Victoria (UVic) Student Society’s board of directors has censured campus pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), effectively silencing the organized pro-life voice on campus.

On grounds of violating the university’s harassment policy, the board’s decision Feb. 6 is a response to the 90-plus complaints against the club related to a “Choice Chain” event on campus in November and the club’s use of posters from the National Campus Life Network. The “person poster” juxtaposes historical statements made by secular authorities against the personhood of African Americans, natives, women and Jews, comparing them to statements by the Supreme Court against the personhood of an unborn child. “Sometimes the most important lessons take the longest to learn,” reads the poster.

Published in Youth Speak News

OTTAWA - A Conservative backbencher is using a private member’s motion that could re-ignite the abortion debate in Parliament.

MP Stephen Woodworth, who represents the Ontario Kitchener Centre riding, tabled a motion Feb. 6 that Parliament appoint a special committee of 12 members to review the section of the Criminal Code that states a child becomes a human being “only at the moment of complete birth.”

Though Woodworth told journalists he was not addressing abortion in his motion, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson issued a terse statement, saying “The Prime Minister has been very clear, our government will not reopen this debate.”

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EDMONTON - Carrying placards against abortion, about 20 people marched in front of Edmonton’s Law Courts Building Jan. 27 to mark the 24th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that threw out Canada’s abortion law.

“Twenty-four years ago, every (abortion) restriction in Canada was struck down by the Supreme Court,” lamented Edmonton Prolife spokesperson Karen Richert. “Abortion in Canada is wide open and is also paid for with your tax dollars.”

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