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.

Published in Canada

VATICAN CITY - The co-founder of Wikipedia told a Vatican audience that his online encyclopedia could contribute to peace by promoting "a more thoughtful world," even as the site was under fire for how it referred to those who oppose and support legalized abortion.

Jimmy Wales, who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001, was invited to address the annual assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The meeting at the Vatican April 27-May 1 focused on Blessed John XXIII's 1963 encyclical "Pacem in Terris" and continuing challenges to promoting peace and justice in the world.

Published in International

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.”

Published in Canada

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.

Published in International

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.”

Published in Canada

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.”

Published in Canada
February 7, 2012

Scientifically speaking

The planet is a better place because humans are a curious species. Occasionally, a scientific discovery comes by happen-chance but typically it flows from a curious mind asking the right question.

Thus we are living longer and more comfortably than ever. Progress has been mankind’s hallmark since before the invention of the wheel. Life is full of wonder. One discovery leads to another. The Wright brothers wondered if man could fly and barely a lifetime later Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon.

Published in Editorial
January 31, 2012

A welcome debate

The January issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal included an editorial proposing that the gender of an unborn child be withheld from parents until 30 weeks gestation to prevent gender-based abortions, a practice that typically targets females.

While screening for the sole purpose of sex selection is illegal in Canada, and not believed to be widespread, there is convincing anecdotal evidence that it does occur, particularly within ethnic communities where sons are more valued than daughters.

Published in Joanne McGarry

Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canadians a wake-up call with his recent warnings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The problem is that even those who hear the alarm might rise to the wrong bell.

Harper was candid that our country’s solid economic performance in comparison to Europe and the United States masks a frightening demographic threat. Bluntly put, the number of Canadians nearing retirement is rising; the number of younger Canadians available to replace them is falling. The outcome of that stark reality, Harper said, will require his government to simultaneously undertake serious reform of federal pensions, particularly the Old Age Supplement, and immigration policy.

Published in Peter Stockland

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Catholic bishops of California are backing proposed ballot measures to require parental notification before a minor's abortion and to end use of the death penalty in the state.

The endorsement, contained in a statement posted Jan. 10 on the website of the California Catholic Conference, marks a departure from the bishops' long-standing policy of not taking a stand on potential initiatives until they have qualified for the state ballot.

But the "convergence" of the two proposed initiatives presents "a unique teaching moment on life and family," the bishops said.

Published in International

NEWARK, N.J. - A group of 12 nurses who sued the University Hospital in Newark over a policy requiring them to care for patients before and after abortions can no longer be compelled to assist in these procedures, under an agreement reached in federal court.

The nurses in the same-day surgery unit of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey can remain in their current jobs and will only be required to help patients with abortions in a life-threatening emergency when no other nonobjecting staff members are available and only until someone can be brought in to relieve them, according to the Dec. 22 agreement.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares, who mediated the agreement, said the nurses would be allowed to remain in the unit and would not be discriminated against because of their stance on abortion. He declined to rule on how the hospital would configure its nursing staff, calling that a contract issue.

Published in International