A motion to be debated in the House of Commons Thursday will help close the “abortion question” in this country, according to its author— a pro-life Conservative MP.
The motion from Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth aims to form a committee to review the section of the Criminal Code of Canada that says a child becomes a human being at birth.
“I think when you have a law that says some human beings are not human beings it’s a big problem for our whole system of justice,” he said.
The motion does not propose changes to Canadian abortion law, but Woodworth said it will let Canadians have honest discussion about the “abortion question.”
“If we reach a conclusion on when a child becomes a human being then all of the other issues that are so complicated about abortion can be discussed with that honest conclusion as a bedrock foundation,” he said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said the abortion debate will not be reopened—but according to Woodworth it is already open because the courts have found it is up to the legislators to have the final say.
“If anything, I’m trying to bring it to a conclusion,” he said. “I’m trying to reconcile people on it, I’m trying to get them to think about it in a way that respects principle and evidence, and shines a light on it, rather than draws a cloak of darkness over it.”
About 60 women protested the motion on Parliament Hill Wednesday—many dressed as characters from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, in which high rates of infertility prompt a theocratic society to force some women give birth to babies for wealthy infertile women.
Protest organizer Julie Lalonde said in the U.S. some women have been imprisoned or had their lives put at risk because of state “personhood,” laws.
“It speaks to a larger agenda of viewing women as not having their own bodily autonomy,” she said.